With Light and With Love

With Light and With Love

As Jeremy Earl has added members to his once-solo project Woods, they've more than lived up to the hype (such as Pitchfork’s "Best New Music" claim for 2009’s Songs of Shame). Woods have become a surprisingly prolific group—and one that's slowly embraced higher-fidelity productions. Earl sings in an eerie high pitch that lands somewhere between Neil Young and Prince. The playing on the title track may suggest a trip through the psychedelic rock of the ‘60s and the ragged stoner jams of the ‘70s, yet there’s also a dense, modern tone to what's also a current-day raga and pop song. Driving the keyboards to distortion while letting the drummer loose happens even on the more modest songs. “Shepherd” settles on country-rock. “Moving to the Left” trips back to Magical Mystery Tour–era Beatles. A mellow early-'70s tune like “New Light” is warped by its extreme production tone. “Full Moon” could be a lost track by the ‘70s band America. “Only the Lonely” (not the Roy Orbison song) sneaks in the album’s strongest melody just before the finish.

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