The Wilderness Of Manitoba - "Head For The Hills" (Pheromone Recordings): Since forming in 2009, this Toronto-based combo has changed lineups multiple times, the one constant being vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Will Whitwham. The sound of his group has also morphed, moving away from rustic folk-rock into a polished and sophisticated yet somewhat retro rock sound.
TWOM's previous full-length album, 2014's Between Colours, featured a cameo appearance from Alex Lifeson on one song but didn't receive the attention it deserved.
"Head For The Hills" is the first single from TWOM's upcoming fifth full-length album, Across The Dark, due Sept. 15. It comes across as a tune you might have heard on FM radio in the '70s, and we favourably mean this.
Whitwham has a warm and appealing voice, and the track boasts multi-tracked vocals and sophisticated layered production. In a label press release, the singer explains that "on the surface, [the track] is a concept that relates to one fearing the decay of his or her land in the change of season, the dying of crops, etc. The change of season also reflects something deeper and more internal: A mental instability, anxiety, fear, triggering the 'flight over fight' response when what you're up against seems too daunting.”
An intense lyrical theme indeed, but one offset by the bright melodicism of the tune.
Tour dates in support of the album begin on Sept. 19 at The Warehouse in St. Catharines, with a hometown release show at the Garrison on Sept. 20. An extensive Western tour follows, then more Ontario shows. A full schedule here. Joining Whitwham on the road will be vocalist/guitarist Jenny Berkel, bassist/vocalist Tavo Diez de Bonilla, and drummer Marshall Bureau.