On their last album, With Light And With Love, Woods struck the perfect balance of swirling psychedelia and hook-filled melodies. The cosmic imagery evoked by their new LP’s title (and the leering visage of a skull on its cover) hint at the airy and occasionally menacing music contained within.
While there aren’t any supersized odysseys this time around, the LP opens with its longest cut, “Sun City Creeps.” A fascinating subversion of Woods’ sound, the song offers droning horns that evoke the early-’90s sonic reinvention of Los Lobos. Jeremy Earl’s falsetto is still your guide through those often impenetrable lyrics, and Jarvis Taveniere, fresh off production gigs for Quilt and Real Estate’s Martin Courtney, saved his best tricks for his own band. “Can’t See It All” boasts a loping groove anchored by an ethereal organ, and “I See In The Dark” sneaks in Woods’ latent krautrock influence.
After the reintroduction that was With Light And With Love, City Sun Eater In The River Of Light is a comfortable but nonetheless adventurous next step for this secretly brilliant band.