New York folk rock band Woods are adapting to new environments on Strange to Explain. On their twelfth album they continue exploring psychedelic elements and weathering changes.
Jeremy Earl’s wistful falsetto drips in reverb above drums, swirls of electric and acoustic piano and guitar, trumpet, and vibraphone. Jarvis Taveniere plays a moody array of bass and ambient timbres, having recently moved from NYC to California where they made this album after both musicians helped produce David Berman’s final record in 2019 as Purple Mountains.
“Be There Still” turns over a new leaf for Earl, who became a father ahead of this release. On “Can’t Get Out” we hear the uncaged strain and frustration. The title track is where the hooks and harmonies mushroom, and we’re basking in the distorted sounds and figuring out reality.
It features instrumental tracks that present unique progressions. “The Void” ignites the psychedelic spirit before fading quickly into the din, and “Weekend Wind” is a rustic outro jam with warm brass, airy strums and rustling shakers.
Layered with the crisp instruments are soundscapes of chirping birds and pattering rain, the band’s namesake becomes a shady place for listeners. It basks in tranquility and sounds like a dewey morning doused in melodica and mellotron. We’re also taken on trips past the beach, through storms and into shelter, and it seems to be with good company.
While at times Strange to Explain feels lumbering, Woods provide a tranquil spot in times of uncertainty.