Woods - At Echo Lake
Last years’ Songs of Shame was one of this scribe's albums of the year, with Woods' beautiful freak-folk jams being a true ray of sunlight. They even managed to find time to make it over to these shores to play shows with Espers and The Cave Singers and quite stunningly showed them up with their uniquely noisy and traditional tunes. So it’s ever so nice of them to grace with an album of brand new songs so soon after the previous outing.
At Echo Lake is a record so lovingly and delicately crafted it makes you wonder how they would even go about achieving such a thing. Taking fuzzy guitars, subtle percussion and the smooth yet distorted vocals of Jeremy Earl (who also runs label Woodsist), the band have made another nostalgia inducing trip that recalls childhoods spent playing in the sun, something echoed by the almost childlike warmth that emanates from the album's art.
Taking in noisy drones and jaunty guitar lines during a track such as ‘Pick Up’, and then moving into probably one of the bands more pop moments with ‘Suffering Season’, is something they do with utter joy and ease, making the listener sink into a sense of peaceful abandonment from the pressures of life. ‘From The Horn’ bursts out with a clatter of drums and tape effects, while ‘Time Fading Lines’ sounds almost exotic with its array of subtle nuances and sounds, guest musician Matthew Valentine adding harmonica and what sounds like a sitar to the mix.
Everything contained within these eleven short tracks is a pleasure to behold. They have found a balance in their sound which achieves both purpose and naivety in equal measure and with At Echo Lake they’ve cemented themselves as one of the most genuinely exciting and enjoyable bands around at the moment. I think it’s time you went and explored the Woods.