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The fact that Woods has released seven albums in the last seven years isn’t the most remarkable thing about the Brooklyn folk band’s recording output. What stands out beyond the steady delivery of their music is the consistent quality that has characterized their songs, reaching a high enough peak to garner national attention by 2009’s Songs of Shame but leveling off to the point where fans could take them for granted and non-fans could find the group easy to ignore.
On their newest offering, Bend Beyond, songwriter Jeremy Earl offers what could be a summation of Woods’ career thus far, singing “ain’t it hard to say that it ain’t easy, looking for different ways to make things stay the same.” The song, “It Ain’t Easy,” may be a solemn reflection on a lost friend, but this line reminds listeners that the subtle polishing of Woods’ sound, the slight diversions into unchartered territory, and the band’s ability to write four or five songs on a yearly basis that will sweep them off of their feet is not necessarily playing it safe. Yes, Woods is slowly disproving the idea that change and growth are the same thing. — Paste