[sic] Magazine

Woods – City Sun Eater In The River Of Light

Sun And Shade. With Light And Love. City Sun Eater In The River Of Light. A thematic trinity of works that explores both the cool shadows of Woods’ career to date, the carefree dappling that filters through their breezy canopy too. Last tinkering with their distinctive and melodic psyche-folk template in 2014 via added pedal steel and light concessions to wah-wah funk, City Sun Eater now plunges head-first into the latter. Scratching the itch its predecessor helped create along with nods to jazzy afrobeat and even dub, the results are naturally laid-back in the extreme, but just look at that artwork. Its creeping darkness brings to mind Goya, Holbein or, more generally, alongside those bold yellows, reds and geometric patterns the imagery of the legendary dia de muertos. So, with their latest shift, have Woods’ shadows finally won out, or do they merely threaten to overwhelm and capsize the River Of Light’s jaunty craft? In reality, and although Jeremy Earl’s ever-present and creaking falsetto may suggest otherwise, Woods are now on their ninth LP and their grip on the tiller is just too strong to allow either of these things to happen.

As a consequence, City Sun Eater is a delight studded with gems start to finish. Dreamy as ever, Woods have never been more engaging too. One of several stand-outs, on “Sun City Creeps” they squeeze out a stream of liquid funk from strings and horns, serious grooves literally plucked from sunny scales. Ridiculous levels of BBQ bounce emanate from almost every angle. “Can’t See At All” is a sun-kissed chill-fest, delicious wah-wah, woodwind and dub combining beautifully. Throughout Woods dig out one decent groove after another, melt-in-the-mouth funk rubbing shoulders with free-wheeling psych-pop and the occasional kraut mosey.

Hence, while a track like “Morning Light” might be more in line with trad Americana and an album like At Echo Lake, pedal steel moping around its poppy mix, the special bongo and dub-led cut “The Take” explodes into colour with the arrival of brass, latterly developing into the sort of luxury jam you might expect of someone like Iron & Wine. Now a distant memory, With Light And Love was padded out with tasteful-but-forgettable material that seemed to be lacking in identity. Rarely missing a beat, in the splendid City Sun Eater Woods have adopted an entirely new identity whilst remaining true to themselves.

Best track: “Sun City Creeps”

~City Sun Eater In The River Of Light will be released April 22nd 2016 via Woodsist.~

[sic] review – With Light And Love

[sic] review – Sun And Shade

[sic] review – At Echo Lake

[sic] review – Songs Of Shame