Jesse Woods - Autoflower

by Steve Ricciutti Rating:7 Release Date:2017-08-25

Jesse Woods is restless, that most-useful quality of an artist which isn’t necessarily a good thing for everyone else. This is a musician who has traveled from New York City to Mexico, California to Texas, always picking up the local color and adding it to his burgeoning palette. From the lyrics, Woods has clearly been traveling through this most divided America.

Counting in for “Buckle Bunny,” Woods draws on the smiling phantom of Gram Parsons, one that hovers of the proceeds, his spirit gliding over the California desert for eternity. “Come down catches me before I catch myself. Riding with my baby, doncha try and save me,” are the kind of lazy SoCal lines Parsons used to write, while the music further enhances the spell.

“Misery’s Love Song” adds some blues to the vibe, the sunshine drawn into the muddy waters, as Woods sings, “I’d rather be miserable with you than happy with anyone else.” That’s something I recommend couples agree to at the altar instead of “Till death do us part.” The high point of a very high album is fittingly titled “UFO.” A roller-rink organ melody smoothly drives the lilting melody as Wood’s relaxed vocal style makes for a song that harkens back to the glory days of Laurel Canyon.

“What’s the Rush” is a sludgy, swirling piece, like the feeling you have on too many pain pills. Taking a swipe of the state of things in America, Woods laments, “In 2016, thou shall be cursed…it’s best to view the shit-show from a distance.” Pushing the Americana themes further, Woods sings, “Indian Casino, Elvis in the building all night, dancing in my torn-up chinos, tripping on all the back light” on “Digging A Grave.” Woods summons the sparse, dusty, soul-searching haze of the desert, where the neon flash of a casino may seem like an oasis. On “Mobile Home, Woods makes a case for his wanderlust, “Pick up the anchor and go, mobile home on the road. Well, there ain’t no law to speak of, erase the person that you think of.”

Closer “Vantablackout” sends you off on cruise control, the desert blurring past you, headed into the sunset, closing in on the purple mountains on the horizon. This is an evocative piece of work for the restless soul in each of us.

 

 

 

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