Woods


(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
How To Survive (2005), 6/10
At Rear House (2007), 6.5/10
Songs Of Shame (2009), 6.5/10
At Echo Lake (2010), 6.5/10
Sun And Shade (2011), 6.5/10
Bend Beyond (2012), 6/10
With Light and With Love (2014), 5/10
City Sun Eater in the River of Light (2016), 5.5/10
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New York's Woods, fronted by Jeremy Earl's falsetto and first documented on the double cassette How To Survive/ In The Woods (2005), perfected a form of lo-fi noise-folk that wed New Zealand's lo-fi pop of the 1980s with a more rustic Neil Young-ian feeling on At Rear House (2007) and Songs Of Shame (Woodsist, 2009). The naive singalong To Clean, the breezy Rain On, and the poppy The Number (sung in a eerie falsetto and accompanied only by guitars and tambourines) are humble contributions to the song format, but the group also unleashed the ten-minute instrumental jam September With Pete, worthy of the acid-rock bands that emphasized the "rock" part like Quicksilver. A stronger psychedelic mood surfaces in what is basically a corollary to it, Echo Lake, and in the rhythmic progression of Gypsy Hand, that leads to a chaotic orgy. The one-minute closer is appropriately a surreal choral Haiwaian-style chant, Where And What Are You. The album also includes the cover of Graham Nash's obscure single Military Madness.

Kevin Morby of the Woods and Cassie Ramone of the Vivian Girls formed the Babies that recorded The Babies (Shrimper, 2011) and Our House On The Hill (Woodsist, 2012), collection of gentle lo-fi pop tunes.

The Woods struck the same magical balance of the first two albums on At Echo Lake (Woodsist, 2010), with charming ditties like Blood Dries Darker, although the music picks up pace only with the instrumental From The Horn.

It is not a coincidence that the highlights of Sun And Shade (Woodsist, 2011), that also featured Glenn Donaldson, are two lengthy instrumentals, Out of the Eye and Sol y Sombra, one propulsive and the other one pastoral, with Pushing Onlys and Be All Be Easy representing the poppy side of their art.

Bend Beyond (Woodsist, 2012) collects twelve brief pieces, featuring new drummer Aaron Neveu and including: the catchy, organ-driven 13th Floor Elevators-esque Find Them Empty, the martial, Neil Young-ian Bend Beyond, the vintage-sounding instrumental Cascade (halfway between Duane Eddy and Iron Butterfly), the lazy folk-rock ditty Cali In A Cup (one of their signature songs), the simple elegy Something Surreal, etc. Nothing revolutionary, just a well-mannered tribute to the psychedelic masters.

Following the departure of bass guitarist Kevin Morby, Jeremy Earl and the Woods further simplified their sound on With Light and With Love (2014). Laid-back country-rock rules (Shepherd). Nonetheless, it includes the nine-minute With Light and with Love that blends bluegrass, psychedelic raga and funk-jazz syncopation.

City Sun Eater in the River of Light (2016), on the other hand, introduced some mild innovations such as reggae (Sun City Creeps), dub-pop (Can't See At All), and calypso (The Take). The standout is another of their folk-rock ditties, Politics of Free.

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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