Review: Woods – “Sun and Shade”

One of the most remarkable things about Woods, besides the band’s ridiculous consistency with albums (Songs of Shame in ’09, At Echo Lake in ’10, Sun and Shade in ’11), is Jeremy Earl’s ability to make one-liners resonate within the listener. For me, it all started in late 2009 with the “Rain On” chorus of “Oh, how the days will rain on you.” It just stuck with me.

While the lyrical content on At Echo Lake didn’t quite have the same effect on me, Sun and Shade marks the return of this, most notably on “Any Other Day” and “Who Do I Think I Am?” On “Any Other Day,” Earl wonders over the line “I won’t believe that it can’t get worse,” something that really strikes me, given the almost jovial delivery of this line. And then the titular the latter song is pretty self-explanatory.

Woods also does a fantastic job of varying the sonic delivery of each song. From “Pushing Onlys,” which was reminiscent of Ducktails on first listen, to “To Have In the Home,” which somehow reminds me of a little Led Zeppelin, to the long instrumentals of “Out of the Eye” and “Sol y Sombra,” it’s all different.

Even the two long instrumentals, which break up the flow of the album a bit, bring two different approaches to the table. “Out of the Eye” has a driving beat that pushes it along through it’s seven minute duration. “Sol y Sombra,” on the other hand, is a little more laid-back and less focused. Both tracks are solid, especially coming from the Woods catalog, but in the context of the album, it just feels like these two tracks break up the flow of an album, stopping the momentum the shorter songs gain.

The track immediately following “Sol y Sombra,” “Wouldn’t Waste,” is dark and brooding, but because of its juxtaposition with the long song, its effect is lost, causing it to be overlooked by listener’s fatigue. The attention of the listener, however, is immediately brought back by “Who Do I Think I Am?” one of the album’s standout tracks.

Sun and Shade is a worthy addition to the Woods catalog, fitting right in with Songs of Shame and At Echo Lake. It’s remarkable of the consistency of this band, and we’ll see if we can get anymore from them in 2012. Until then, check out their awesome live show.

Stream Sun and Shade here.

“Pushing Onlys”:

–Daniel

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