Woods frontman and founder of the Woodsist label, Jeremy Earl, has brought together something special in Brooklyn over the past number of years. In addition to this being the band’s eighth full-length release in the past seven years, the label has also been a launching pad for a number of artists who share the sunny, classic-rock aesthetics for which the band is known, including Real Estate and Wavves.
Woods aren’t the type of band who need to be constantly re-defined. Instead, they concentrate on fine-tweaking their distinctive style, which could be described as ‘60s campfire psych, or freak folk with classic-rock undertones.
Opener “Shepherd” hits you with a drifting steel guitar and immediately shows that the band is far removed —if not totally — from their early lo-fi, hazy recording techniques. With Light and With Love also follows the band’s recent trend towards tightening their song structures, with the exception of the 10-minute title track, which undulates through roving psychedelic breakdowns, plucky guitar lines and surprisingly effective solos.
The upbeat soundscapes that Woods create swell with an undercurrent of something darker, but remain uplifting as they pass by. On standout “Moving to the Left,” Earl reverberates the lines, “All of my days/Always spinning with the sun/Are we moving on and on?/Are we moving with the rest?” Are we?
By Cory Jones