Woods: Strange to Explain (Woodsist) - review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, July 6th, 2020  

Woods

Strange to Explain

Woodsist

May 27, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


For a band known for their diverse musical influences, Woods seem more influenced by life events than any genre or place on their eleventh studio album. Strange to Explain, a dreamlike tapestry of psychedelic folk, Americana, and rock, explores themes of parenthood, memory, slumber, and that peaceful early morning quiet you get when your newborn is asleep. Written during a transitional period for the band, after frontman Jeremy Earl became a father and his bandmate, Jarvis Taveniere, moved to the West Coast, Strange to Explain represents some of Woods’ most introspective and meditative work to date. 

Opening track, “Next to You and the Sea,” with its steady rhythm and reverb-infused synthesizers, is a perfect introduction: laying down a dependent groove for the record’s subsequent 11 tracks. “Where Do You Go When You Dream?” explores the surreal nature of sleep and the mechanics of memory—themes cast against a backdrop of easy-listening instrumentation (pianos, flutes, and vocal choirs), complete with a chorus of Earl’s backyard spring peepers. 

Lyrically, “Can’t Get Out” takes a dire turn, with descriptions of entrapment and suffocation accompanied by more rambunctious instrumentation, while title track, “Strange to Explain,” with its Americana tinges, is more reminiscent of the band’s earlier work. 

Instrumental track, “The Void,” sounds like something you’d play in the wee hours of the morning when you can’t sleep, which “Just to Fall Asleep” picks up into a soft-hearted lullaby.

The final few tracks, “Fell so Hard” and “Weekend Wind,” dip more into the light, dusty psychedelia, but through and through, Strange to Explain provides a little bit of everything for the listener. Carved from a deeply personal place, the record wanders amongst the warm thickets of Woods’ discography like an explorer: coming across new worlds and sensations without judgement or fear, but instead, equipped with an eye for the beautifully difficult—those things in life that test us, that make us pure. (www.woodsist.com/woods/)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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