woods: with light and with love

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I’m listening to the new Woods album on the first day of the year I haven’t had to wear a coat to work. Perhaps the temperate weather has spiked my serotonin, but With Light and with Love definitely sounds like a summer record to me. Hazy, pastoral, occasionally Byrdsy (at one point alarmingly George Harrisonish): unless my mind has been sunstroked, this album certainly has a seasonal feel.

The opening couple of tracks are pleasant but forgettable, but it soon becomes clear they were lulling you into a false sense of apathy before hitting you with the title track – the fulcrum around which the rest of the album turns and burns. With Light and with Love (the song) is an immense nine-minute jam-out which rolls and twists and builds as well as anything they’ve done before, and probably better. It’ll doubtless be in my top ten tracks come the end of the year.

After that, it’s like a door has opened onto a meadow of languid West Coast memories. Moving to the Left and Leaves Like Glass are particular highlights, before the whole thing drifts off into the ether and has ended before the beginning (if you get what I mean).

Ok, its all a bit derivative (yo, there’s Dylan; hi Roger McGuinn), but Woods have produced another collection of highly likeable, mood-boosting pop. Perhaps not suited to a damp Tuesday in February.

7/10

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