Bend Beyond

Bend Beyond

It's a pleasant surprise when a new release by a band well into its career reveals some evolution and its earlier, solid releases suddenly glisten with the charm of dewy-eyed, inchoate newness. Bend Beyond takes the sweet, earthy sounds of New York's Woods (formerly from Brooklyn, now based upstate) into another realm of psych-tinged indie-folk, one that feels less unsure and hazy and more wizened and playful. Woods propel classic sounds into the new millennium with surety, nodding unabashedly to '60s Neil Young on the breezy, harmonica-accented "Cali in a Cup" and showing echoes of "Cowgirl in the Sand" on the title track. "Is It Honest?" is as jangly as anything The Byrds ever recorded (and vocalist Jeremy Earl even sounds like Roger McGuinn here), with sparkling guitars riding atop waves of vintage organ and glinting tambourines. With winsome pop gems like "Impossible Sky," full-on psych-rock barn-burners like "Cascade" and "Size Meets the Sound," and gentle, ghostly creations like "Something Surreal," Bend Beyond is Woods' finest offering yet.

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