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WOODS: Bend Beyond (Album Review)

Woods have always had a penchant for the psychedelic, but they take it to a whole new level on Bend Beyond, their new album on Woodsist Records. Within you’ll find louder, more intricate guitars that develop fuller songs, more emotive songs. This is, without a doubt, Woods’ most accomplished work to date.

“Bend Beyond” is both the title and opening track to the album, and Woods stuns from the start. You’ll hear similar traits throughout the LP in songs like the instrumental “Cascade”, the blissful “Find Them Empty” and “Size Meets The Sound”, but you’ll also hear more stripped-down acoustic works as found on prior albums like At Echo Lake.

“Cali in a Cup” finds a middle ground between the two sounds; upbeat and playful, it maintains the grounded lo-fi dreamy acoustic psychedelic sounds of Woods’ past with hints of a heavier, more updated sound (here they employ what sounds like a harmonica).

Contrary to the squinty-eyed lazy tracks of before, Bend Beyond appears to have set into a sweltering dusk, at times even dipping into the humid and dark early hours of the morn. (Songs like “Size Meets The Sound” are cool enough to give you the chills.) The tone has changed. These are songs crafted by the heart, more emotive and introspective; there’s a quality to Jeremy Earl’s voice that hints of an inner suffering.

In Bend Beyond, the result is a sound more refined, (slightly) less lo-fi sound, married both to the past and the present. The haziness remains, a hint of the great outdoors steadfast in the heat of summer. Just a welcome change in time of day; a cool dusk breeze on a thick, humid late summer day.

Woods: Bend Beyond

Woodsist [LP, 2012]

1. Bend Beyond
2. Cali In A Cup
3. Is It Honest
4. It Ain’t Easy
5. Cascade
6. Back To The Stone
7. Find Them Empty
8. Wind Was The Wine
9. Lily
10. Size Meets The Sound
11. Impossible Skys
12. Something Surreal

2023 Update

In 2023, I expanded on my coverage of the LP with both a video unboxing and an album review post of Bend Beyond. Check out my coverage of the album on YouTube below:

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