Woods
City Sun Eater In The River Of Light


4.0
excellent

Review

by Atari STAFF
April 8th, 2016 | 42 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: There will always be a place for you, meet me on the other side

There are many contradictory descriptors that could be used to accurately portray the sound of Brooklyn’s Woods. Ominous but welcoming is perhaps one of the most fitting ways to describe their blend of indie-folk and psychedelic rock; seductive yet restrained is another. Therein lies the appeal of the band’s music – it’s not too firmly grounded in a specific influence or idea to risk branching out, but when it does, it does so gracefully and with flair. The band's 9th proper LP, City Sun Eater in the River of Light, continues their illustrious streak of quality folk music that refuses to be defined by any particular label. So, what makes their latest outing so special? The answer lies in the album’s undeniable warmth and accessibility. They’ve sounded more jarring and psychedelic in the past, and even more focused, but their music has never gone down quite this smoothly before.

Throughout City Sun Eater in the River of Light there are more musical influences than you can shake a stick at, yet not once does it feel off-putting or forced. ‘Morning Light’ marches forward confidently, with vibrant country-inspired guitars, bouncy pianos, and of course, Jeremy Earl’s hypnotizing work behind the microphone. He’s always had an arresting and airy performance strong enough carry a song on its own, but he sounds more reinvigorated than ever here. It’s an ear-worm if there ever was one, and one of the most accessible songs of Woods’ prolific career. It’s only a small taste of the album’s unique flavor, though, as the rest of the experience finds the band playfully tackling fresh ideas.

One welcome addition to their sound here lies in the Latin influences glittered casually throughout the album. The horns are a real treat on several tracks here; they contain all the pizzazz of a mariachi band, but are seamlessly blended into the album in a subtle way only Woods could pull off. Lead single ‘Sun City Creeps’ and ‘The Take’ bring to mind a scorching hot Mexican countryside with perky brass sections that dance alongside Earl’s distinct vocals. With such potent imagery arising from the addition of these trumpets, it’s almost surprising the skull plastered on the album cover isn’t sporting a large sombrero hat. Then again, the album’s not lacking in variety, and several tracks contain a completely different vibe altogether. The album closes with a trio of poignant songs that feel more stripped down, with ‘The Other Side’ building its foundation around little more than Earl’s gripping melodies and strong lyricism as he puts himself in the shoes of the deceased – there will always be a place for you, meet me on the other side. His entrancing falsetto really works wonders here, bringing to mind the likes of Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon as he steals the show on the last three tracks. It’s unmistakable proof that despite a wide range of influences from reggae to African jazz, Jeremy Earl remains the true star of the show.

In a manner not too different from The Tallest Man On Earth’s Dark Bird Is Home, Woods have refined their sound a good deal on their latest effort, but without sacrificing their exceptional songwriting and knack for thriving melodies. With all its subtleties, it’s all too easy to overlook the lyrical genius buried within the bright instrumentation, but Earl’s way with words remains as prominent as ever in his latest batch of sunny, do-it-yourself folk tunes. Whether he’s steering the band into uncharted territory or showing off his roots, it always sounds undoubtedly like a Woods album – and that’s perhaps the greatest achievement of all.




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user ratings (89)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
MrGarland
April 8th 2016


213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review. I'm feelin' it mannn.

Hopeful
April 8th 2016


5 Comments


Dig the review.

Couple possible typos at the end of the third paragraph.

Just Vernon -> Justin Vernon
Justin Earl -> Jeremy Earl

Atari
Staff Reviewer
April 8th 2016


22457 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks guys, and good catch Hopeful - fixed



been jamming this nonstop since they released the stream, hope you guys like it



http://www.avclub.com/article/listen-woods-city-sun-eater-river-light-full-right-234549

Digging: Skull Kid - Protection Charm

Gyromania
April 8th 2016


22275 Comments


glad to hear this is good! sun city creeps was one of the first songs i added to my 2016 playlist of jams

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
April 8th 2016


26496 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Excellent review, Atari.



Listening to the stream now and liking it a lot, as expected. Time will tell how it ranks among their other albums for me.

Digging: Sudan Archives - Sudan Archives

Pangea
April 8th 2016


2677 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I loved moving to the left from their last album, so i will check this for sure

klap
Staff Reviewer
April 8th 2016


11645 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

me likey

Digging: Marika Hackman - I'm Not Your Man

Aids
April 8th 2016


24407 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I looked at the preview on the front page and thought to myself:



"Rudy.

3.9/5"



What are you doing to me Atari



also hi Rudy

Atari
Staff Reviewer
April 8th 2016


22457 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

haha aids, gotta throw you guys for a loop from time to time



also cheers JT and everyone else, glad people seem to be enjoying this one

klap
Staff Reviewer
April 9th 2016


11645 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

hey u weren't that far off

Pangea
April 9th 2016


2677 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sun city creeps is great

Ryus
April 9th 2016


14315 Comments


only heard bend beyond but wasn't a big fan. seemed like middle-of-the-road typical indie fare to me for the most part

Digging: DJ Sports - Modern Species

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
April 9th 2016


15758 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Awesome review Atari! I never heard of these guys, but this sounds like just my kind of thing.



Anyone have a link to the stream? I jammed the imbedded song and thought it was excellent, I can tell this will be a great summer album.

Digging: Steven Wilson - To the Bone

Atari
Staff Reviewer
April 9th 2016


22457 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks man, just added a link to the stream in my first comment

Sinternet
April 10th 2016


13807 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this looks like something i'd dig



great review btw

Digging: Valerie June - The Order Of Time

SowingSeason
Moderator
April 11th 2016


24006 Comments


this fell on the back burner with all the crazy good releases

will have to get to it after FR

great review

Digging: Manchester Orchestra - A Black Mile To The Surface

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
April 11th 2016


15758 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I'm loving all the bass lines on this, 2016 is unstoppable with all this fantastic music being released.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
April 12th 2016


22457 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cheers everyone



@Sowing, thanks man. Looking forward to hearing what you think of the whole thing when you get around to it!

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
April 12th 2016


26496 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Can't help but feel this one dips in quality a bit towards the middle, at least in terms of song writing which is [usually] one of their greatest strengths. First 4 songs and The Other Side are all exemplary of their song writing abilities though.

PostMesmeric
April 12th 2016


684 Comments


Yeah, I dug this. Has some flaws, but I liked the aesthetic of it overall.



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