The Swedish folk rock outfit Woods End began playing together in 2012. They had known one another for some time and had all played in different bands and finally decided the time was right to begin a recording project together. The band recorded an album that wasn’t quite good enough for their standards and then gave it another try with the result of that effort being their intricate and lush debut I.
Woods End recorded I in several different locations, though the majority of it was recorded in a summerhouse on the Baltic Sea in the northern part of Sweden. I’ve never been there however the overall tone of I gave me the sense that I had.
I opens with the acoustic sauntering “the ocean” which feels like an early period Willie Nelson tune. It rumbles and tumbles along with waves of drums and soft ripples of keys and haunting backing vocals. It’s raw and powerful. The same could be said of the finger picked elegance found on “the thaw” which unfolds slowly, and seems to shed a bit of the country esthetic half-way through, aiming more at pop and rock. Next they sink their teeth even deeper into the country element on “edge of a wood,” where a banjo and upbeat drum kit give the slow starting song that jumpy old time country pace.
On the six-minute jam, “falls like snow,” Woods End dips into Neil Young territory combing elements of folk doused with a little bit of rock n’ roll for good measure which they do again nicely later on with melodic crescendos on “firewood.” Woods End closes out I with the slow and powerful “seven fathoms” a long story song, a tale about the sea, which seems to have been quite an influence on the entire record and here serves as a kind of metaphor and even a nod of gratitude.
Though the folk rock genre is in no way hurting for more occupants wanting to show off their wares, Woods End is definitely a band worth giving your time over to, as their record I is a subtle masterpiece of the genre.
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