August 8, 2012

“You know where it’s going. You know what it is.” So Woods singer Jeremy Earl falsettos on the latest leak from the Brooklyn band’s seventh album. By now, the namesake of the Woodsist imprint have incised a familiar style, one notably averse to the eight-part harmonies with African-tint and other electronic yawps that passes for avant-garde in the one-time other borough.

While Woods are more traditional than their peers (Earl name-drops Dylan as his chief lyrical influence), they’ve always searched for the equilibrium between harmony and chaos. A battle between light and dark that reminds me of The Grateful Dead, who they’re most commonly compared. The last two albums have found Woods living up to their name, decamping to Warwick in Upstate New York to record in a ramshackle home where Earl grows tomatoes and cucumbers and presumably, other natural herbs and spices.

Their first leak from the forthcoming Bend Beyond was “Cali in the Cup,” a folkier, harmonica-laced run that sounded like the sort of thing you’d use to soundtrack the next lake jam of your Transcendentalist party. By contrast, “Size Meets the Sound” is heavier, but never sacrifices melody. It reminds me of a thousand songs that I can’t quite name. A little Brit-pop, a little glam, 60s psych, The Dead, LA’s Paisley Underground. Earl’s wrong. I don’t know what it is. Then the ceiling collapses around the 1:50 mark, frayed chords, falling guitar lines, splinter and squall. Just when you think it’s another aimless jam, Woods re-gain footing and ride it out  — as though they knew what they were doing the entire time.

Going Back to Cali: The Rustic Jams of Woods

Douglas Martin’s Dirty Shoes: Woods Stands in the Sun, Lays in the Shade

Douglas Martin’s Dirty Shoes: There’s Something Rumbling Under Echo Lake


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