Woods have released their newest album, Strange To Explain, marking their 15th anniversary as a band. Formed in Brooklyn back in 2005 and at one point featuring Kevin Morby on bass, the indie band has always had the ability to maintained its bedroom sensibilities while still being appreciated for its fantastic instrumental organization. The album was released on Woodsist Records, an independent record label owned by singer and guitar player Jeremy Earl. It also marks the first release since Earl became a father and Woods became a bi-costal band. Co-songwriter and Meneguar creator Jarvis Taveniere moved to Los Angeles allowing the band to record at Panoramic House Studio in Stinson Beach. Taveniere and Earl also recently collaborated to work on Purple Mountains, the last album released by David Berman before his death in late 2019.
The collaborative folk band has a great ability as a band to be able to write songs that would assumedly sound as good completely broken down acoustically as they would fully produced. A stand-out feature of the album is the use of various instruments and sources of inspiration. If you were a fan of their mid-2000’s work, this album would be a very satisfying continuation of their sound while also mixing in enough new ideas for it to be a progressive album for the group. The opening track Next to You and the Sea combines an effective bass and drum part with a memorable vocal part, something that has always been a staple for Woods. “Before They Pass” and “Where Do You Go When You Dream” have great choruses and contributing guitar and key parts that tie the mood and vision together.
“Can’t Get Out” is a great example of the tide of early indie/alternative that defined the early ages of their music. The title track “Strange to Explain” proves they still have extremely solid material to deliver in the same tone that fans have become accustomed to. the only instrumental on the album was “The Void” which allowed the band to experiment with different instruments and patterns adding layers to the total project. However, Earl’s soft and deliberate vocals always bring the song’s to Earth, as evidenced on Just To Fall Asleep. One could imagine Garfunkel singing it as effortlessly. “Fell So Hard” is an interestingly driven and direct song for their previous work. When most bands are holding their best work back, Wood continues to progress with their best.