Now that it’s still light beyond 8pm, and the mercury is permanently set to double figures, it seems as good a time as any for a new Woods record. For the images and sounds they’ve cultivated over the last decade are tailor-made for spring – pastoral innocence, hazy warmth and deceptively simple yet endearing melodies are what have earned the Brooklyn folk-rockers a cult and devoted following. And from the breezy horns and soft bustle that adorn opener ‘Sun City Creeps’, it’s comforting to realise Woods haven’t abandoned the rustic mellowness that suits them so well.
That’s not to say they lack ambition or haven’t grown; they simply know what works best, and when the music is this gorgeous, who can argue? <em>“I dream of sunsets almost every night,”</em> Jeremy Earl croons on ‘The Other Side’, and it’s easy to believe him. The grandness of nature is a common theme here, and the band are happy to just reflect the beauty of the world around them as opposed to searching for deeper meanings. Never mind that this is their first record since moving back to Brooklyn from rural upstate New York; Woods are still the ultimate outdoorsy group who’ve ploughed their own extremely consistent furrow of modern country music a whole career before the likes of Whitney et al.
So the real revelation is that being yourself and staying true to your path is the grandest ambition of them all. On their ninth album, Woods have started to make it look easy.
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