The critical mantra "repeat listens mandatory" is usually trotted out for albums you want to like, but can't quite get our ears around. It's somewhat surprising to evoke it for the second Moxy Früvous album, because this Toronto vocal quartet has created such instantly likeable tunes as "King of Spain" and "Stuck in the '90s". But the group has suffered a bit from being too likeable and wears the "novelty" tag like a heavy cross.
New album wood (out Tuesday) seeks an organic, rougher sound (hence the name) that removes some of the gloss from the harmonies and most of the humor from the music, while adding banjo, fiddle, harmonica, organ, clarinet and more to the basic Früvous sound of acoustic guitar and snare drum.
It's frequently too busy, but the repeat-listen magic works for quieter songs like "Fly" "On Her Doorstep" and "Misplaced". If it's artistic growth you want, wood is it. If you want another "King of Spain", the group plans to soon release "a collection of satirical bits and oddities" called The B Album.