October 31, 2012
by Jasen Ribadenera
Sun and Shade, Woods’ last album made me want to kill myself. Their new one, Bend Beyond, elicits the same knee jerk reaction only this time it makes me wanna take someone with me. White people problems, eh? Anyways, Bend Beyond starts with a song of the same name, as it should. The only thing I can muster up to describe how this song behaves is by saying, in all seriousness, that it’s the musical equivalent to charming a cobra. The stuttering guitar line that first relaxes, then slithers on through, had me phoning God’s personal line and giving her a heads up. There was a good chance she was already hot for this one, with Jesus being a Woods fanatic and all. After all, I did discover these guys when they played in an old church in Greenpoint so the divine connection can’t be helped. If there was ever a reason to cancel bingo…
“Cali in a Cup” busts in with a harmonica and I should just leave it at that, but I won’t. Here we find Jeremy and the boys peaking, so to speak. True to form, they rip out not only a solo at the beginning of a song but a goddamn harmonica solo at that, soundin’ all rusty and stuff. Bliss, motherfuckers! They took things nice and slow with these songs, one can tell. From the different structures of the songs themselves, with their layers of weird/beautiful noises, to the production (for lack of a better term) in general, it makes me want to give it out to strangers during Christmas and Hanukkah. “Is it Honest?” may be my best friend here. A buildup into the verse and another one into the chorus? Damn straight. When I hear the lyrics “As nice as it is / is it honest? A collection so far / were you thinking of me? In dreams, we move closer to sunsets / It’s so fucking hard” sung with that double-tracked beauty I put God on speaker phone (after letting her know of course).
These guys are just too classy to not include the instrumental “Cascade” just in case you were pondering. “It Aint’ Easy” is the saddest song here – I don’t dare write about it; a man must know his limits. Moving forward. “Impossible Skies” is the happiest, and I use that term loosely. With lines like “It’s horrible eye / It’s horrible I’m awake” they venture into “speaking to one’s soul” territory. Or, maybe it’s all in my head. Maybe I’ve finally gone right around the bend into paranoia county, but then again maybe not. I mean, trying to describe such beautiful music or, worse yet, a record this heavy, is sort of like singing the description of a rainbow. To be perfectly frank, this was a bit tough. I didn’t know if I had the minerals to give Bend Beyond the due justice it deserves with mere words, but I tried. I turned all my family photos around and put a towel under the door. I could feel the guilt creeping in. If I wasn’t so hopelessly excited for Bend Beyond to come out and so completely blown away when it did, I would have never had the balls to lay this non-sense on you from the rip but hey, an eye for an eye. Don’t question whether or not that makes sense. Don’t even worry about anything. Just listen.
Word is bond.
Playing Nov 3rd Music Hall of Williamsburg
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