On this eighth album, Woods have decided to reincorporate their creepy interludes around their melodies. The sounds that were once isolated, have now fully become a part of their sound. The muffled drum circles are still present, but are significantly less murky and a lot more inviting. The strong melodies from 2012’s ‘Bend Beyond’ have been ever so slightly refined, with Jeremy Earl’s falsetto remaining the group’s defining characteristic even amongst the sleeker song writing. His distinctive vocals are just as strong as ever, and all the elements that surround his voice manage to keep up too.
It’s to put it simply, a good clean folk record, with an ever-so-slightly adventurous edge. Mostly concerned with being pretty and telling a compelling story, ‘With Light And With Love’ provides plenty of both. Its pristine presentation envelops with its beauty, even if it’s sometimes predictable. Whatever the methods employed to get where it needs to go, it gets there exactly how it wants to. There’s somewhat of a constant nag for the more experimental and weird elements to incorporate themselves even more, but they never do. This doesn’t stop the record from being enjoyable; it’s just evident at times it could be more than it really is.
‘With Light And With Love’ drifts between delightfully joyful and inconsolably disconsolate, with rewarding results on both ends of the spectrum. It’s nothing out of character for the band, with even the nine-minute title track failing to stand out as anything particularly surprising. But what ‘With Light And With Love’ lacks in surprises, it more than makes up for with quality.
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