[sic] Magazine

Woods – Strange To Explain

A much-needed, soothing tonic recorded during simpler times, Woods’ 11th album in around 15 years (and first studio LP since 2017’s funky Love Is Love) is a sun-dappled balm that purposefully sets out to remind you that – despite everything – “the world is a pretty beautiful place”. Falsettoed frontman Jeremy Earl has reason to be cheerful too, having recently become a father, the band taking the occasion to take stock, easing off the jazzier inflections of late to land a horizontal stream of extremely easy-going psych-pop.

Woods have always been summery though, but here’s there’s barely a tinge of melancholy to cloud the sky, even their trademark jam parts blossoming like a sakura party. Beefiest of the bunch is the stand-out “Can’t Get Out”, the buzzed-out bottom in which provides a solid anchor for catchy cascades of synth repeats, squelchy FX and soothing sighing vocal harmonies, hypnotic kraut pulses easing the run time over 5 mins.

The template for lightly blazed psych-pop established, the suitably pillowy single “Where Do You Go When You Dream?” is another very pleasing half-mast shuffle full of drifting tones and optimistic Casio programmes. Even prettier is the heavy-lidded “Be There Still”, an acoustic-led moment with honeyed choruses and classy string parts that’ll feature on numerous “songs we fell in love to” mixtapes over the years to come.

Complementary outliers come in the surprising form of lullaby dub and whimsical, library music exotica, “The Void” even getting away with some Spanish-style acoustic picking, triumphant brass leading it further South of the border. As promised, Strange To Explain is a beautiful experience start to finish though, nostalgic for the American Dream as it used to be and a celebration of life’s simplest successes.

Best tracks: “Can’t Get Out”, “Be There Still”

~Strange To Explain is released May 22nd 2020 via Woodsist.~