At a pace of nine albums in ten years of activity, Woods should now be a forest of strong psych gurus, spreading their knowledge on craft via their own label, Woodsists, to an underworld of sprouting up fellows. Instead, with their latest release, the Brooklyn crowd have taken it to a rather different biome.
We can maybe blame it on El Niño, or global warming, but where there once were green leaves and tall trees, now there’s a burning sun and sand, some spare cacti, maybe a dirty road ending up nowhere. Their new record City Sun Eater in the River of Light (a whimsical mouthful in itself) sounds like Mariachi bands playing along with Ennio Morricone on the set of a spaghetti Western movie, endless sunsets over rocky landscapes.
Warming up to the duel with the first tracks, opener Sun City Creeps is the best of the album, projecting us straight into this new Wild West reality. It’s with The Take and I See in the Dark that the fight escalates: Jeremy Earl’s high-pitched voice gives up on his falsetto to show its true potential singing of the madness of contemporary world, while Jarvis Taveniere shoulders his guitar the old way for a bursts of electric shots.
The band sound pretty comfortable in this new path, making up an organic and characterised set of songs. Politics of Free, though, takes us back to Brooklyn, marking a disturbing discontinuity within the album: it’s the track that reveals that the real cactus lies half-dead in a pot on our windowsill, and that’s too bad. We didn’t really need that reminder at all.