The Woodsist cult comprises an eponymous record label based in upstate New York, an annual outdoor music festival in Big Sur, and, at the center of this inconspicuous constellation, a sanguine little psych-rock band called Woods. For almost a decade, bandleader Jeremy Earl has attracted a flock of feral seekers and kindred spirits — some of Earl's early releases on Woodsist were by Kurt Vile, Thee Oh Sees and Vivian Girls — drawn to his homespun, sylvan aesthetic, most vividly espoused by Woods over seven self-released albums.
Like the rest, album number eight plays like an introvert's manifesto, music made with humble means and consciousness-shifting intentions. With Light and With Love sounds bigger, though, more accessible, conceived with an ear toward top-down, tear-out-of-town FM anthems of summers past. Certainly it's cleaner and richer than Woods' early lo-fi head-trips, with piano and organ adding elegance to the trio's guitar-driven squall. Earl sings of big things — loving, leaving, growing, dying — with a plainspoken poetry that observes cycles both celestial and human. JONATHAN ZWICKEL
Read SPIN's review here.