Despite the fact that Bend Beyond is the seventh studio album from the somewhat profilic and evidently consistent band Woods (@woodist), it’s actually my first encounter with the group. As far as introductions go, though, it was satisfying in many splendid ways.
The album works on two major levels, the first being it’s rustic, folk-like approach to instrumentation. The use of acoustic guitars and dry percussion/rhythmic patterns gives the album a very natural, earthy feel. The second level, which acts as a counterpoint, comes from the band’s use of sharp, electric guitar sounds and a collection of speckled psychedelic nuances. Phased guitar tones and effects, organ riffs, feint electronics and digital manipulation all play their part in creating a light, digital imprint on the album. The two styles are put forth in well calculated measures. The layering of both sound pools is neither too thin nor too thick, and the overall composition of Bend Beyond is just right.
Not only is the album well-balanced, but the juxtaposition of both styles acts as a kind of rubber core upon which plenty of interesting ideas are bounced. This provides a playful streak that runs throughout the album, making it (for the most part) a joy to listen to. Added to this production style is a collection of sweet, whimsical and jaunty vocal melodies that, much like the instrumentation, gets the balance just right.
My only gripe with Bend Beyond is that a few songs could capitalise further on ideas and take greater risks. Rather than jump on some of the opportunities that linger at their fingertips, the band seems to restrain themselves a little too much. Still, my first dalliance with Woods has impressed me significantly, and their latest LP is one that truly showcases the talent that resides within their camp.