With Light and With Love
"This life won't wait for you, it's gonna take some time."
If there was ever a band in the modern age with psychedelic riffs folksy enough to inspire the trading of grilled-cheese sandwiches for concert tickets, it would probably be Woods, or at least they’d have a pretty strong shot at it with their latest album With Light and With Love.
Woods is a quartet comprised of Jeremy Earl, Jarvis Taveniere, Kevin Morby, and Aaron Neveu out of Brooklyn, NY. Earl is the vocalist, as well as the president of the Woodsist label, which released their album. He sings in a haunting, trippy, high pitched voice deserving of the grilled cheese band comparison I made above. Taveniere, a multi-instrumentalist, plays a pivotal role in each song, either through a teasing electric guitar, a keyboard, or organs. Kevin Morby plays bass for the band, and you may have heard his name before on Radio K given the release of his solo album Harlem River in late 2013. Neveu is on drums. Together, they’ve made something fantastic in With Light and With Love.
If I were in charge of directing an advertisement for the album it would go something like:
Person 1: [walking down a street eating chocolate] …mmmhhh, chocolate!
Person 2: [walking down a street eating peanut butter] …mmmhhh, peanut butter!
(they bump into each other)
Person 2: Hey, you got your chocolate in my peanut butter!
Person 1: Hey, you got your peanut butter on my chocolate!
(third person bumps into them both holding mushrooms)
Person 3: Hey, you got your peanut butter and chocolate on my mushrooms! [he takes a bite] Delicious!
Announcer: The newest Woods album With Light and With Love, for when peanut butter is pop music, chocolate is folk, and mushrooms are mushrooms!
See what I did there? It was that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup ad from the 80’s. But I made it about this album. Clever, right? More articulate and seasoned writers would probably say something about instrumentation, harmonies, and other big fancy music terms; but an efficient writer, like myself, says that this is psych-folk being psych-folk, and being damn good at it.
That’s not to say this album doesn’t mix it up. The title track from the album, also named “With Light and With Love,” is a nine minute seven second jam. If psych-folk is able to rock the F out, it does so here. “Leaves like Grass,” on the other hand, is more traditional, more of a contemplative throw back. It’s almost a call and response song where no one responds, leaving the final thirty some seconds to the electric guitar and your thoughts in an oddly cathartic finale. Better writers would probably say “Woods finds meaning not in the answer but the asking—open-ended, risk-prone and ultimately assured in never knowing.”
In fact, they did say that, specifically Jonathan Zwickel in his review for Spin Magazine.
For my money, it’s just great music, made by great guys.