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Woods- At Echo Lake
August 25, 2010, 1:36 pm
Filed under: music and musings

Woods

At Echo Lake

Woodsist

In May of 2010, Woods released their fifth full-length album and I couldn’t take the time on it to really see it for what it is until now. One might listen to Woods and feel that there’s nowhere to really go from here when the key factor is Jeremy Earl’s vocals, but I found a serenity in this album that was not present in Songs of Shame.

Songs of Shame was at war with itself, struggling with political anthems and daunting, dark solos countered by acoustic guitar and mellow vocals. Woods seem to have come to peace with the struggles and shadows that overwhelmed their first album. At Echo Lake is lighter, more thought out and precise in it’s stylization and methods of instrumentation. Neither is better, both are extremely amazing pieces of work, but the growth that can be seen from one to the other is what makes Woods such great artists.

They say so themselves in the glinting tune, “Suffering Season,” where they sing, “who knows what tomorrow might bring…” as they ooh along.  The song has such depth but also an airiness that allows them to sing such hopeful (or chilling) phrases as this. Each song has a clarity and an uplifting drive; glimpses of maturity and strength, clarity and purpose in their music that has only increased with time.

There is much more of a country-twang present on this record, showing a clear progression in Woods’ style, leading them down the path of country-inspired lo-fi indie rock that’s still infused with their winding jammy guitar style. Take for instance the song, “Just Fine,” which starts with acoustic guitar and rattling snare as Jeremy Earl’s vocals ring in a somewhat Americana style of melody.  “Death Rattles,” feels very much like it could have been on the previous record with low bass and “oooh’s and “woah’s,” but it has more of an angle to it, feels a little cleaner, even in it’s placement and use of guitar solos. Woods still has plenty of major jam sessions, blaring build ups of weird noise and anthemic acoustic songs, but the poignancy and intent is much more noticeable on At Echo Lake.

by Lauren Piper

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