Woods started out as a bedroom recording project for Jeremy Earl and Jarvis Taveniere, and their early releases tended to skew towards noisy jams and experiments. But underneath the tape hiss were some seriously catchy songs, informed as much by the Grateful Dead and Neil Young as much as the Brooklyn punk scene Woods grew up in. The band released at least one full record per year between 2009 and 2012, all while practically living on the road.
The two-year gap between 2012’s Bend Beyond and With Light And With Love (out today) is notable for a band as prolific as Woods, but the break pays off. The group has focused its sound, both in recording quality and songwriting. Gone is the off-the-cuff style that Woods made its name on; now the band is more interested in sparkling melodies than lo-fi weirdness. They’ve relocated their studio to upstate New York, and the rural pace suits them just fine. “Leaves Like Glass” lopes along at countrified speed, mixing in organ and psych-folk guitars with Woods’ sun-filled harmonies. It’s the sound of a veteran band getting better and better with every release.