With Light and With Love
May 09, 2014 Web Exclusive
The eighth album from stoner folk quartet Woods, With Light and With Love is their first recorded in a professional studio. Next to the digitized, future-slicked sounds of other latter-day psych totems such as Lonerism or Merriweather Post Pavilion, it feels like a reverent, immersive ramble through the corridors of lysergic pop history.
Sure, some revivalist rules and lo-fi tenets are bent. The bass tones here are rounder than those found on the mid-'60s or early '70s vinyl classics that Woods clearly prize, and the wah-wah effects squelch with a modern clarity. But it's the good old Leslie speakers that have worked liquefied wonders on frontman Jeremy Earl's coyote yowl falsetto. The Hammond organ-led "Leaves Like Glass" is pure Basement Tapes/American Beauty pastiche, while "Full Moon," built around a trembling slide lick, is a patchwork woven from the majestic corners of All Things Must Pass. Even the monstrous, nine-minute title jam, which quotes liberally from "Eight Miles High" and Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, betrays a traditionalist ache for the golden analog hues of bygone eras.
Such déjà vu portals suggest Woods are thoughtful re-interpreters as much as they are artists. But in this territory, that's a high compliment, not a backhanded one. After all, the words folk and rock might never have converged so gracefully were it not for a certain reinvention of "Mr. Tambourine Man." (www.woodsist.com/woods/)
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 6/10