Last year I described Woods first (and wholly remarkable album) as a kind of rural esoterica, music for a woodland secret society. Their new endeavor, At Echo Lake, brings them out of the grove and into the sun. While not devoid of bemushshroomed elements, At Echo Lake is a pop record that reaches beyond the known towards something just slightly off-kilter and is all the more lovely for it. There is some traditional psychedelic noodling, but it's earnest and playful.
What is most impressive here is the optimism. It's a testament to how the underground is capable of eschewing the predictable and easy reflection on dark and apocalyptic images in favor of something hopeful while also maintaining an authentic melancholy. We live in a time when we need our artists to do something more than just mirror the state of things. There are dark elements here, but they don't wallow in it. There is no sudden crushing drone for underground cred. Woods always seemed in awe of something, and on their first record it was some ineffable vague thing haunting them around the campfire. On At Echo Lake they are in awe of life, on the preciousness of other people, on how bountiful joy can well up unexpectedly.
Buy it here---