Woods - Sun and Shade - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Woods - Sun and Shade

by Miz DeShannon Rating:7 Release Date:2011-06-13

You usually expect this kind of psychedelia inspired alt-rock band to come from the depths of an Arizona desert. Interestingly, Woods are from the heady city heights of Brooklyn. They do American folk/country in quite an interesting, mixed up way, with some crazy tape effects and innumerable instruments on psych-out songs, as well as the usual light drumming and acoustic strumming. With a nice laid back but high pitched vocal, it's proper old-fashioned music, like Bert Jansch, The Byrds, maybe Dylan, with bits of BJM type sounds thrown in.

Starting with 'Pushing Onlys' isn't a great idea; there are better songs on the album. This is a bit middle-of-the-road. A simple strumming song, it drags. The next two songs are an improvement, 'Any Other Day' and 'Be All Be Easy' have a handful of rock elements, riffs, drums, and nice harmonies, still in a simple country-inspired way.

As soon as you think they're more of a mellow Americana outfit, the seven minute long, whirring 'Out of the Eye' pops up with a huge psychedelic vibe going on - a purely instrumental build-up of guitars and odd noises with driving bass throughout. It's as though this and massive psych-out 'Sol y Sombra', another rambling experiment, are used as breaks before jumping to the next musical era of influence.

'Hand It Out', 'To Have in the Home', 'Who Do I Think I Am?' and 'What Faces in the Street' are more jam band sounding, with tambourines and guitar riffs like every other 60s guitar-pop band you've ever heard. Think Love or, more recently, Mazes. These tracks are sadly broken up with rather drab, acoustic wailing on 'Wouldn't Waste' but followed with 'White Out', going back to psychedelic ramblings, yet not for as long this time. It sounds like something they'd have conjured up after a trip to Rishikesh.

Choosing quite a beautiful song to end on, with nice harmonies and wah-wah guitar, 'Say Goodbye' shows there are some good songs on this album, but on the whole it's disjointed and doesn't have the ebb and flow a good album should have. Sun and Shade is their fifth, so they're no newcomers to this, yet it's too confusing musically, too much jumping from country-folk to full on psych-outs and it doesn't really work consistency. Or is that a really modern, un-psych way of looking at it?

Having listened to it quite a few times to 'get it', however, it's definitely a grower. Sorry, no pun intended.

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