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Sun & Shade

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 14, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

2011 release from the lo-fi Indie folksters. Woods is a two-headed dog asleep on the porch and a butterfly on the windowsill... a Janus, a Gemini and a screen door. The sun won't fade and the earworms will not leave, but the jams go on too long for the girl in the back who wonders if her friends are at another bar. Still, the ballads always make her cry. Woods is up there relaying the Woods-feel: Folk-rock, fuzz, tambourines, tapes and raw lunch pulled straight from the yard. Pop songs and other things: Sun and Shade.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 14, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Woodsist
  • ASIN: B004VDSX1A
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #172,436 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Bruce Eder on October 16, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There's so much to love about this record that one hardly knows where to begin -- we discovered it and the band after hearing a track on a 2012 UNCUT magazine CD devoted to the Byrds, and yes that influence is there, but so are echoes of Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd ("Out Of The Eye." "Sol Y Sombrero"), early Fairport Convention (yes, you could think of large parts of this record as a tribute to Joe Boyd, who played key roles in the histories of both bands), with a bit of the 1967-vintage psychedelic/Brian Jones-era Rolling Stones, plus sounds reminiscent of the Beau Brummels at their peak, Emitt Rhodes/the Merry Go Round ("What Faces The Sheet"), and early Crosby, Stills & Nash ("Say Goodbye"). But for all of those obvious influences, the sound itself is unique, a vibrant, shimmering original (and boy, does "Any Other Day" shimmer around some angular guitar). The playing and singing are superb, and the two instrumentals -- of which "Out Of the Eye" is the better, but only by inches (early Pink Floyd is definitely its jumping off point, but it kind of also makes one think of the way that the Stones' "Sing This All Together (And See What Happens)" was probably supposed to sound, before it went wrong) -- are a lot more than time-fillers, more than holding their own with the gorgeous vocal numbers. It all makes for an album that's strong from beginning to end, and well worth discovering. On first listen, it was like this little pocket of music out of the middle/late 1960s popped into our universe and time-stream, 40+ years late but even more welcome today than it might have been back when.
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Format: Audio CD
Woods have released three albums in the last three years. Surprisingly, this breakneck recording speed has had no impact on the quality of their material. Woods's past three albums, Songs of Shame, At Echo Lake, and, their most recent, Sun and Shade are all impeccable pop albums. Each album fits a certain well worn mold that the Woods have occupied for a few years now. And even if the band prefers to tinker with their sound, making changes around the edges, rather than overhauling it from the ground up, I just can't hold that against them since Woods always hit the bullseye, even if they barely move the target.

The sound of Woods might be reductively described as a lo-fi version of the Grateful Dead, minus the self-indulgent jamming. But what makes their sound so enduring is the way different sonic elements brush up against one another. The songs themselves are instantly catchy, yet each instrument must be heard through the bristling lo-fi recording; the band's sound can be instantly uplifting, yet their lyrics often have a cynical lilt. Woods continue to stretch these dynamics on Sun and Shade whose first three songs, "Pushing Onlys," "Any Other Day," and "Be All Easy" are a musical triptych that runs the emotional gamut from nostalgic to melancholy to stirring.

After this opening salvo, Woods go into one of their winding instrumental tracks, "Out of the Eye." At least one song on Woods's past three albums has been an experiment in songwriting where they treat structure like putty, stretching it out until the music barely holds itself together. As if to apologize for the sheer accessibility of their last album, the impossibly catchy, At Echo Lake, here Woods have included two of these instrumentals. This changes the dynamic of the album, putting the listener on edge.
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Format: MP3 Music
If you like their last offering, Woods' new album 'Sun and Shade' is really about them trumping their own work; not only by getting better at what they were trying on 'Songs of Shame', but peeling back the layers of 60s/70s (think Proud Mary meets droning sitar) that has been omnipresent and re-birthing the personal shock and awe that permeated their first tapes.
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