by Andrew Garrison
Since Woods creation in 2005, they have been putting out a ton of music at a very steady pace. From 2006, to today, the Brooklyn based four piece has not released an album in two years over that span, 2008 and last year. The year off in 2013 seemed to do Woods well, with this year’s album, With Light and With Love comes off as a much more polished and clean overall, while still sounding like dirty hippie music, which, more or less, it is.
With Light and With Love, is highlighted by frontman Jeremy Earl’s distinctly high-pitched vocals that play and are layered well with an assortment of instruments. Through most of the album, the various percussion implements seem to be the driving musical notes. With Light and With Love maintains the airy, frothy, generally hippy psychedelic low-fi vibe while having a crisper sound and all around soothing melodies. Tracks like “Moving to the Left”, “Shepard” and “Only the Lonely” have a much softer, drum circle inducing vibe, while the folkier jam type sound isn’t lost on the album, coming through fairly strong “Shining”, “Full Moon” and “Feather Man.”
The titular track is a rambling opus that prods deliberately along for just over nine minutes, but doesn’t at all seem labored or excessive, driven by very assertive and masterful guitar riffs, and sides somewhere closer to the jam side of the spectrum. Each song on With Light and With Love seems to purposefully skew itself into the flower-power type of frothy melodies or the southern jam band sound, to me drawing a comparison at times to acts like Old Crow Medicine Show or Widespread Panic. And, with each track falling rather certainly in one of these two camps, With Light and With Love has enough variety to it where you can really notice the change in song, while still working together as a complete album. Falling somewhere in a cross roads of folk, psychedelic and jam, Woods delivers a soundtrack for those who are perhaps searching for some, or working in their organic commune kale farm, or people who drive Jeeps and wear aviators, or those who oft employ peace signs. Or, perhaps this laid back, low-fi and mellow sound is best enjoyed by not doing much at all.