Woods

City Sun Eater in the River of Light

Woodsist

Apr 11, 2016 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Humble consistency and commitment to craft have long been Woods' defining virtues, so the boldness of the band's ninth full-length, City Sun Eater in the River of Light, is an invigorating rush. Without entirely abandoning the psych-folk influences that have colored prior releases, City Sun Eater dives into the grittier side of '70s jazz fusion, the darkest corridors of dub, and funk's paranoiac underbelly. In contrast to the bucolic preceding works, it's an album that summons big city dread, the kind that steams up from beneath the streets and clings to teeming throngs of pedestrians.

Frontman Jeremy Earl's songwriting doesn't suffer from the shift in focus, though he allows himself to recede into the dense aural hues that cloak the album. City Sun Eater is so thick with atmosphere that the record almost seems to radiate heat and scent; perhaps more than any other Woods LP, this is an album enamored of the strangeness and open-ended possibilities of sounds themselves.

This quality manifests in the wah-wah drenched guitars in "Sun City Creeps" and "The Take," the surrealistic organ of "Can't See At All," and the alternately jubilant and unnerving horns throughout. Woods' increased sensitivity to sonic texture is equally apparent when all the smoke and mist clears, as on "Morning Light," which gleams with skyward strands of gentle slide guitar.

Undoubtedly, Jarvis Taveniere, a multi-instrumentalist and the band's regular producer, deserves credit for his role in architecting City Sun Eater's sound, but Woods have never sounded more like a fully-functioning unit. Every single layer here swims together to create an unceasingly fluid song cycle of ebb-and-flow paranoia and pleasure. (www.woodsist.com/woods/)

Author rating: 8/10

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