Now with winter a distant memory, what we need now is a hazy dose of summery melancholy to warm our bones and soothe our skin. Step right up Brooklyn folkies, Woods with their sixth LP, ‘With Light and With Love’ – this is an album of jubilant jingle-jangles that meander and weave like an afternoon’s stroll in the park. But, so not to completely align themselves with hippy-dippy sentiment, Woods’ give off the occasional sonic storm cloud but not enough to rain on ‘With Light and With Love’s parade.
Mostly, the NYCer’s latest outing finds the band sliding through shimmering guitar lines, delicate drum patters and the odd whirl of organ that injects a hefty amount of hypnotic dope smoke across the album’s rootsy feel. Due to the record’s laidback vibes, certain chunks of ‘With Light and With Love’ can simply drift by, perhaps in detriment to the artistry that’s gone into making Woods’ most recent collection of songs but in all honesty the New York quartet have distilled the quizzical notion of daydreaming across 10 tracks – and there’s nothing wrong with glazing over and switching off from time to time, especially if some aural sunshine is being draped across your face and eardrums.
Notably, poking out like a fresh shrub amongst the dirt ground, the album’s eponymous track, a sub ten minute opus of twiddling guitar and woven textures is where Woods excel, like being invited into a private jam session, initially the track commences conventionally before the song’s core develops into a restrained but liberating wig out that could be deemed indulgent but sounds like a band lost in their own groove as a delicious breakdown could easily roll on for infinity.
As so to scorch the radiant sky of ‘With Light and With Love’ lead singer Jeremy Earl possess a vocal close to Elliott Smith’s tortured tones, albeit with the trauma siphoned down to a minimum. Equally Bob Dylan’s nasally croon is another touch point, sans the connotations towards any sinus related trappings.
There’s plenty of light and the odd waft of shade here to saviour, maybe love is a step too far but a whole hearted like isn’t far from the mark.
Word and Thoughts of Adam Williams