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By Mandy Drake

For such an ardently independent band, Woods’ proficiency comes too with a certain level of professionalism. They release an album a year, but the records always retain a sense of full-body-ness, and the analogue charm of their back-porch-folk sounds old fashioned rather than lo-fi. Their steady output hasn’t seen them venture off their own dusty, up-state New York track, though, and the same goes for ‘Bend Beyond’ – another rural record of songs from the campfire, full of glassy-eyed whimsy, old country melodies and the lived-in vocal style of ‘Harvest’ era Neil Young.

So Woods’ seventh album picks up where numbers five and six left off, occasionally interrupted by a couple of psychedelic-but-pleasant wig-outs, yep, just like before. And yet there’s no being down on this formula, largely because, in God-given fashion, Jeremy Earl has always got a melody up his sleeve more harmonious and hopeful than the last. It applies to every anti-dour nu-folk record he and his band have produced, including this one.

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