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WOODS – At Echo Lake – CD / LP / CS

WOODS – At Echo Lake – CD / LP / CS

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With a title like At Echo Lake the fifth album from New Yorks Woods intimates a modern rock aesthetic fully informed by historical manifestations of teenage along with a concomitant feel for the specifics of time and place. The distance between 2007s At Rear House and 2010s At Echo Lake may at first seem only semantic but it more properly represents a move from a kind of informal back porch jam ethos to a fully-committed vision of the infinite possibilities of group playing. Over the past few years Woods have established themselves as an anomaly in a world of freaks. They were an odd proposition even in the outr company of vocalist/guitarist/label owner Jeremy Earls Woodsist roster, perpetually out of time, committed to songsmanship in an age of noise, drone and improvisation, to extended soloing, oblique instrumentals and the usurping use of tapes and F/X in an age of dead-end singer-songwriters. Recent live shows have seen them best confuse the two, playing beautifully-constructed songs torn apart by fuzztone jams and odd electronics. At Echo Lake feels like a diamond-sharp distillation of the turbulent power of their live shows, in much the same way that The Grateful Deads Dark Star single amplified and engulfed the planetary aspect of their improvised takes. Some of the material here the opening Blood Dries Darker, the euphoric Mornin Time is so lush that lesser brains wouldve succumbed to the appeal of strings and horns but At Echo Lake is more Fifth Dimension than Notorious Byrd Brothers, nowhere more so than on From The Horn, a track that is as beautiful in its assault on form as Eight Miles High or Swell Maps Midget Submarines. But despite the instrumental innovation that the album heralds G. Lucas Cranes psychedelic tapework on Suffering Season, guest musician Matthew Valentines harmonica and modified banjo/sitar on Time Fading Lines At Echo Lake is all about the vocals. Woods secret weapon is the quality of Earls voice, osmosing the naive style of Jad Fair, Jonathan Richman and Neil Young while re-thinking it as a discipline and a tradition. Here he is singing at the peak of his powers, in a high soulful style that is bolstered by heavenly arrangements of backing vocals. At Echo Lake feels like the transmission point for teenage garage from the past to the future. Deformed by contemporary experiments, bolstered by magical traditions from the past, its the sound of now, right here, At Echo Lake. -David Keenan/Glasgow/March 2010

Woodsist 040
Release Date: 2010

  • Blood Dries Darker
  • Pick Up
  • Suffering Season
  • Time Fading Lines
  • From the Horn
  • Death Rattles
  • Mornin' Time
  • I Was Gone
  • Get Back
  • Deep
  • Til the Sun Rips

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