There's something to be said for regularity. Woods have released an album a year for the last six years (that's not including 7-inches, EPs, acoustic white labels and other weird little items). It's been interesting watching them shift and grow from intimate bedroom folk, to what they've arrived at on Bend Beyond, their darkest LP since personal favorite At Rear House. As a singer, Jeremy Earl is excellent at writing lyrics that are hopeful even as they are bursting at the seams with despair. His trick, over the years, has been to hide that sadness behind his voice, which is all sweet falsetto. In that sense, Bend Beyond feels like an awakening. The title track has long been the centerpiece of Woods' live show, normally drawn out past the ten minute mark, here it appears short and quick, like a heavy punch to the gut. There are other highlights too: "Cali in a Cup" rides that darkly sweet line so beautifully, while "Find Them Empty" is pregnant with unrest that weaves through its vintage psych guitar lines. Bend Beyond isn't Woods' most accessible album, but it's definitely their most compelling. Bend Beyond is out September 18th on Woodsist.
Read my feature on Woods from FADER #74 right here.