When light refracts, a change occurs due to the bending of light rays emanating as they pass through the atmosphere. With this in mind, Brooklyn’s Woods take the notion of refraction literally with their latest Bend Beyond, knowing that homegrown folk songs have this particular way of moving you.
While still dabbling in the same licks and harmonious riffs as their previous releases, Bend Beyond deviates quite a bit from the band’s last LP Sun and Shade, which saw the band more deeply rooted in folk and Americana. Bend Beyond instead uplifts the listener entirely from the softer and more solemn moments of Sun and Shade, resonating with radiance and optimism entirely.
Album opener and title-sharer “Bend Beyond” begins with harmonies abound, dissipating into a shimmer of psychedelia near the end. The breezy “Cali In A Cup” blends the impending winds of autumn with a latent nostalgia for the waning days of summer to last year-round. “It Ain’t Easy” leaves a familiar taste in your mouth, eerily reminiscent of Ben Gibbard and the days of discovering angst-riddled folk circa Death Cab’s golden era. Similarly, “Back To The Stone” utilizes the same chord structure as Dum Dum Girls’ “Baby Don’t Go,” sans Dee Dee’s ghostly confessions.
The album picks up in the latter half, particularly with standout track “Find Them Empty” sees the entrance of mild distortion at the chorus, which leads the potential for Woods to experiment further with both psychedelia and distortion twinges to their traditional, tidy folk that borders on predictable.
Besides a cyclical feeling that veers the album into the direction of repetition at several points, Bend Beyond is a solid listen. At the very least, it’s quite pleasant to listen to on long walks home from the park, the wind blowing brown and red leaves into your path.