Bend Beyond - WOODSIST
FILTER Grade: 80%
By Kyle MacKinnel on September 20, 2012
At the core of Woods’ spook-folk combustion engine have always been two vital ingredients: the fuel—Jeremy Earl’s songwriting—as oxidized by Jarvis Taveniere’s production. The Brooklyn band’s sixth album (and follow-up to last year's Sun & Shade) showcases the synergy of these two elements at full bore. Over time, it seems that the aura of Earl’s tunes have taken an optimistic turn, stretching skyward. Though the Woods canon has been a thicket of consistency, this feels like the most uniform record to date, as well as the heaviest. With Taveniere choosing to feather dust his Rear House recording tendencies for this go-round, Bend Beyond comes off as a bold, bright statement. Trademark tape marsh interludes have been cut loose here, though selections such as the title track do find the occasional moment to meander. “Cali in a Cup” and “Is It Honest” lead off in strong fashion, while the final three tracks bookend Beyond, with “Size Meets the Sound” a brother to the primary cut. “Impossible Sky” is a beautiful exercise and “Something Surreal” flickers the lights in the way only Woods knows how. What’s great about the Earl–Taveniere operation is the sustained quality of these records. What’s better is that we’re granted nearly a new one every year.