Woods last two albums (2009’s ‘Songs of Shame’ and last year’s ‘At Echo Lake’) weren’t so much worlds as drugs apart – the former full of sprawling psychedelic hallucinations and far out jams that sometimes failed to get going, the latter a perfect collection of campfire whimsy, Neil Young vocals and classic Americana melodies. ‘Sun & Shade’ goes some way to bridge the gap between acid and pot, and does so with more of a definite nod to the 1970s than before.

‘Any Other Day’ proves the point best – a gently stoned stadium folk song full of optimism and ripe for the Almost Famous 2 soundtrack.  The opening ‘Pushing Onlys’ preys on those coming-of-age too, although so nostalgic is it in its sombre back-porch prophesies, it’ll also have the oldies doing the Wonder Years bit. ‘Out of The Eye’ is where the Brooklyn band then duck into the rabbit hole, for a seven-minute homage to Neu! that sounds exactly like the Krautrock duo, which, along with Woods’ rustic ways, makes this their best album yet.

By Stuart Stubbs

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