Music Reviews

Woods Reflections Vol 1 is Lo-fi Psychedelic Improve and Infectious Indie Folk

Woods Reflections Vol 1 is psychedelic folk pop with forays into experimental music. It features unfinished songs written in 2009 to 2013 with new production and overdubs. Reflections Vol 1 plays like a lost album from a highly creative time in Woods’ career. It is a time capsule with the lightheartedness of the early years combined with the contemporary production of band members Justin Taveniere and Jeremy Earl. The full length album is a delight for Woods fans and with catchy singles.

Woods Reflections Vol. 1 was a surprise release on October 2nd 2020 from Woodist as a Bandcamp download. The label has announced a limited edition vinyl for release in 2021.

‘Be Kind’ is a wonderful folk song with a heart lifting chorus and focused melodic songwriting developed from the With Light and With Love recording sessions in 2013. The song didn’t make the album originally because they could not capture the feel of the original cassette demo. ‘Midnight Moment’ is another up-beat song with a lo-fi charm that stands up to anything released on their official albums. On the other extreme, ‘Bumble Bee Crown King’ is an improvised composition 8 minutes in length with psychedelic folk jamming that ties Reflections back to the early days of Woods catalogue. Resurrected from an improvised recording in the desert while on tour in 2009.

Woods made incredible music throughout the last 15 years spread across more than 10 albums. They created their own label, Woodist, have extensive engineering, writing, mixing and production credits in the music industry. The core members are the duo Jarvis Taveniere and Jeremy Earl. Earl and Taveriere met as freshmen in college and began making home recordings of experimental music that combined folk, noise, avant-garde and psychedelic rock. This early style reached its culmination on the album At Rear House which was the first full-length on their label Woodist. Songs of Shame, At Echo Lake and Sun and Shade defined their next musical cycle with downtrodden folk songs that featured focus songwriting and limited psych-out jams.

Next, they went from home recording into a studio setting. It took time to capture the feel of their home recorded demos in the studio but they achieved extraordinary results. Ultimately, the expanded toolset available in the studio increased the quality and diversity of their music. Love Is Love and Strange to Explain have more synthesizers, organs, horns, and guest musicians for stronger pop and world music influence with brilliant unique arrangements for their songs.

Jarvis Taveniere is a talented bassist and guitarist and has extensive production, engineering and mixing credits. One cannot overstate his influence in the new folk and psychedelic pop arena. He has worked on Purple Mountains, The Mile High Club, Allah-Las, Dungen, Vivian Girls, Quilt, Widowspeak, MV & EE, Wooden Wand, Castanets and many more artists. Jeremy Earl is no less influential and has writing and production credits for several of the bands listed above.

Earl and Taveriere have been flirting with the concept of bringing unreleased songs to the light of day. They have an extensive archive of never heard before material and a selection of that material appears on Reflections Vol 1.

Woods is a musical powerhouse and the most recent album Strange To Explain was released in February of 2020. It features folk based music with catchy choruses and their signature multi-instrumental arrangements. For that album Woods rented a space in California loaded it with studio equipment and merged their old style of home recording with studio production. The result was a resounding success creating one of the strongest albums to date. The album has brilliant production with beautiful guitars, bass, well placed percussion along with outdoor field recordings and improvisational arrangements captured in studio. It was released just as the dark storm of Covid-19 shelter-in-place was mandated on the global landscape, upending their plans for touring.This created an opening for Reflections Vol 1.

Reflections Vol 1 is an extension of this new creative process which would not have been possible without the pandemic. Reflections Vol 1 takes old recordings and brings them into the studio for overdubs and production. Many of the up-cycled tracks are utilizing old cassette tapes or outtakes from the studio with inspired results.

Reflections Vol 1 is a lost album and is much more than outtakes that didn’t make the cut. Many of these songs were shelved because the band was unable to capture the essential feeling on the demo recordings. There are several strong songs and deep-cuts with freak-folk psychedelic jams that we have not heard from Woods in nearly 10 years. This album comes highly recommended with ‘Midnight Moment’ ‘Be Kind’ and ‘Skull’ having the most popular appeal.

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