Woods - Sun & Shade
There’s something incredibly charming about the new full-length from lo-fi folksters Woods. Carrying on in much the same vein as last year’s brilliant At Echo Lake, Sun & Shade places a little more emphasis on melody while retaining that ear for the weird and wonderful. It’s incredible that frontman Jeremy Earl has had the time to release a new record so soon after the last one, what with his label Woodsist featuring a burgeoning roster of like-minded artists and an increasingly busy release schedule. That doesn’t seem to have affected Woods at all though as Sun & Shade demonstrates.
From the off there’s a definite sense that Woods have taken a liking to pop hooks, with the dreamy ‘Pushing Onlys’ opening the album with sweet harmonies and acoustic guitars infused with melody. The slightly more downbeat ‘Be All Be Easy’ recalls Kimya Dawson in places, albeit in a far more interesting manner. Later on the band explore tropical guitars on the summery ‘To Have In The Home’, while ‘Who Do I Think I Am?’ sees Jeremy and Jarvis Taverniere’s almost hushed vocals at their very best, accompanied by a steady folk-rock rhythm and bluesy six-string.
They haven’t neglected their psych-tinged experimental roots however, as shown on the Neu!-esque kraut-rock drone of ‘Out of the Eye’ featuring G. Lucas Crane’s tape manipulations and a steady, tight bass-line. The nine minutes of ‘Sol Y Sambra’ feel like some sort of acid-fuelled, exotic mantra replete with soft percussion and strange electronic sounds that appear as though stuck in a time-warp. One minute Woods find themselves crafting splendid tales of love, and just as quickly they get lost in a fog of seventies psychedelia, but never do they lose their unique magic.