There are very few bands whose new albums I look forward to as much as Woods. Always a bright spot in any year, their brand of Dead-indebted psych has drifted from breezy strums to 9+ minute workouts that tangle them in a squall of noise but always seem to return to a sunset pink hue that spreads through the body like faint warmth. On their seventh album proper (not counting a few tangential releases as Family Band) they amp up the country vibes, wafting in some guitar twang from the very first moments of "Shepherd" and from there they wrap the album in a veil of 70's country rock that's only really broken by the dark storm of the title track. The band have locked into a new chapter as the move upstate and further from the original Rear House days has brought on a level of production that's only crystallized their sound. Once just crackling through the tape, now they've reached a plateau of studio sheen that's on par with the Graham Nash / Gene Clark records they've always had their eye on. With Light and Love is without a doubt the most high fidelity, widescreened version of Woods that's been captured to the crevices and pumped out of a stylus and yet somehow it just feels like coming home. Its Woods as you've always known them, just a clearer picture of the smoke curling from the tips of their guitars and the high, sweet croon of Jeremy Earl ringing out through the distant mountains in perfect clarity.
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