Wednesday, June 22

Record Review: Woods [Sun and Shade, Woodsist]

By Jennifer Graciano

Woods’ Sun and Shade is, as expected, another faultless release from the psych folk four piece. Sun and Shade marks Woods’ fifth LP, one that takes some of the best musical bits from the bands catalogue for another stunning full-length. Their latest doesn’t demonstrate any drastic change from what we’ve come to expect from the Brooklyn natives; by resurfacing some of their earlier, relatively experimental efforts and not abandoning the catchy melodies Woods craft so well, Sun and Shade never bores and keeps us listening.

Album opener, “Pushing Onlys,” is positively charming for its guitars, uncomplicated melodies, and downright catchiness. Jeremy Earl’s quivering vocals have stopped hiding behind slight reverb and muddled noise (as on much of At Echo Lake) which makes for a better listen and easier appreciation for his songwriting skills.

Everything you could ever want from a Woods full length is in Sun and Shade: folk, pop, ‘60s influences, untried sounds, melodies that you’ll recall for days. “Who Do I Think I Am?” a mid-tempo self-questioning song with soft percussion has Earl calmly questioning: “What’s going on inside my brain/I must be going insane”. Woods continue to churn out lyrics that are not only emotive, but catchy, which is no easy feat. While on “White Out” the band tries their hand in previously explored sounds; a relatively safe experimental track with more than a minute of pure instrumentation.

Almost half of the album is made up of two tracks: “Sol y Sombra” and “Out of the Eye”: the first, Spanish for “Sun and Shade,” has a slow buildup with heavy psych sounds credited to a sprinkling of chimes, unwavering percussion and barely audible strums. This continues until the six minute mark where things start picking up, instruments come to focus and the track ends hastily as if Woods inadvertently gave you a glimpse of something you shouldn’t have seen. And “Out of the Eye” follows the same structure as “Sol y Sombra,” in a more upbeat tropic sense.

“Be All Be Easy,”  “Wouldn’t Waste” and “Say Goodbye” are straight folk pop tracks, ballads that are impossible not to like for the stripped down sound, personal feel and fantastic lyrics. Sun and Shade isn’t all that surprising; Woods consistently release impeccable material that shies away from sticking to standards, and instead, perfect their strength of a special brand of psych-folk for yet another seamless full-length.

Pushing Onlys

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