There are some bands whose sound is intrinsically tied to a season. Try as you might but Sigur Ros doesn't sound quite right unless the ground is frozen, Wavves seems to have a lock on summer weekends and in turn Woods always seems to bring to mind the late summer into autumn nights around here. Timing would seem perfect then for Woods to release their seventh (7th!) album, Bend Beyond in the crook of September. The album evolves the usual balance between fried psychedelics and the unequivocal permanence of Jeremy Earl's falsetto sunshine. And though the delivery is sunny the tone and temperament of the surrounding songs have gotten darker, slanted more bittersweet than they've driven in the past. In turn, with the complex emotions the complexity of the arrangements has grown, but without ever becoming encumbered by ideas. No matter what the supporting cast, the shuffle of drums, the short strums and Earl's voice remain the gravitational point of any Woods album. It seems a year for bands to make definitive statements in the form of albums. Former labelmates Fresh & Onlys have laid their gauntlet down, written one of the years best and Woods has answered right back with an equally heartbreaking, gorgeous distillation of their sound. For the ardent fan, this is a gift, for the uninitiated, a great place to start.
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