Woods' At Echo Lake is pleasant but inconspicuous

Woods was one of the very first acts we posted about here on Knox Road, so they’ll always hold a special place in our hearts. Jamie described them as “eerie” and “sweet” at the same time, which totally confused him. Not that that’s a bad thing though; confusion is good! Woods have a unique sound going for them: breezy, reverb-drenched folk, and their newest full-length, At Echo Lake, is a more polished, well-defined Woods.

The timing of the release in the warmer months of the year certainly does the band no harm — tracks float by gracefully in their super-relaxed way.  The first song, “Blood Dries Darker”, sets the tone of the album with a catchy guitar line and charming falsetto vocals, and another one of my favorites, “Suffering Season”, has some bouncy percussion and cheerful harmonies.

The record is definitely for us new age folks with short attention spans: seven of the 11 tracks are under two minutes and 30 seconds, and that’s just the way Woods likes it. They thrive with less time as songs never linger and as soon as we’re ready to digest one sunny pop gem, another comes creeping up behind it and holds our attention. Therein, though, lies the main problem with the record as a whole: it’s more of the same throughout. Sure, there are certain instrumental quirks and bouts of warm noise in sporadic places, but because of the lo-fi style, I’m looking for a bit more “jump” out of the sound. The first half of the album has its fair share of flair, but the second half falls flat as the tracks bleed into one another.

I won’t lie, it’s hard to critique an album like At Echo Lake, as nearly every song is above-average on its own. Put all of them together, though, and the result is largely unspectacular. Good, but unspectacular.

Woods – “Blood Dries Darker” [MP3]

Woods – “Suffering Season” [MP3]

Purchase At Echo Lake | MySpace

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