Let’s play a game, for the sake of this article. I would ask you to close your eyes, but that would make reading this impossible, so you have two options: 1) close your eyes and have someone read this to you or 2) put your brain in the same state that you would if you had closed your eyes to imagine something. Now that you are in some sort of pseudo-relaxed state, imagine if you will what an “indie-folk group from Brooklyn” would sound like. Do your collective imaginings create a group that sounds like a 60s style folk-rock featuring videos of people dancing with flowers in their hair? Do they recall old-timey recordings that sound like they were recorded on a wax cylinder? Do they sound like the kind of band you would expect to hear in the soundtrack to Wes Anderson’s most recent movie?
Do they sound like all of the above? Because that’s what Woods sounds like to me. When I first put on Sun and Shade, I felt like I had been transported to a time when the country was involved in two wars, we had a popular yet polarizing Democratic president, unemployment was high and corporate profits were even higher. Wait a minute…
Topical jokes aside, this indie-folk group has a classical sound that anyone with any exposure to music over the last fifty years would recognize. Yet, their sound is unique and diverse enough to have trouble putting a finger on it. Every song has a mellow folk quality to it without ever feeling like the genre is being forced upon the listener. The members of Woods play each song with complete conviction and no trace of irony towards a bygone sound. Their sound is consistent and they craft amazing songs throughout their forty-five minute adventure.
The songs do come in at very different times. The indie pop songs that make up the majority of Sun and Shade come in between two and three minutes, which one would expected. The unexpected songs, which are a joy for those of us who like to get lost in an album, are “Out of the Eye” and “Sol y Sombra” which come in at seven and ten minutes respectively. The latter is very reminiscent of the 60s and early 70s, when many recording musicians developed an affinity for music from the Middle and Far East.
This is a fantastic album that I am still listening to on a daily basis. When walking my dogs in the morning, I am consistently singing the single “Pushing Onlys” to myself in the same falsetto vocals of Jeremy Earl. It is a wonderful soundtrack to a relaxing summer day, which is perfect as the album is being released June 14th, a week before summer officially starts. Pick up this album and enjoy the indie pop and folk that Woods has put out for your listening pleasure.