A few days ago, we received a review written in Russian over at VK. As Google Translate can only help out to a certain degree, we called out for help. Luckily for us, Anya Ayonova came to our aid. A huge thank you for this, and thank you to Mr Easy Slow for the kind words!
Here is the review:
The second album of the young and little-known Swedish band Woods End, which does not make up to the canon standards. Musicians do not follow the traditional way of the neo-folk genre (especially German): you will hear no exalted and cold manner of singing; you will find neither minimalistic sounding, nor any kind of appealing to the abstract European values, archetypes or concrete historical events in the lyrics. In fact, whichever way you look at this record, it does not fit within the determinate scope of the genre.
Perhaps, Woods End should not be even fitted into these rigid and unforgiving frames of genres and tags and there are more than enough examples of the music, which cannot be clearly classified. For example, such bands as The Owl Service and The Hare And The Moon, that for all their external features of the psychedelic folk-rock heritage, certainly belong to the neo-folk scene. As a matter of fact, it is no coincidence that these British artists were brought up. How organically they looked in the Dark Britannica from Cold Spring! Clearly Woods End would have fitted organically into such concept as well, though it should be noted that the Swedes sing not about Albion, but about their homeland, despite the English-language lyrics.
Their music comes close to the hymns of Dark Britannica by the almost physically sensible love for nature, heritage and folklore of their country and land. This is a love of a special kind, apolitical, which has nothing to do with the nominal term of patriotism with its “us” and “them”, specified by borders on the map. Woods Ends songs are not only about Sweden; they express their feelings for the whole Scandinavia, so to say, an indivisible environment closely derived by a common culture, history and a completely unique philosophy and outlook, which is, to a certain degree, due to the special magic of Scandinavian nature.
The elusive aesthetics and inward composition perception are certainly the most important components of the album, but it also must be said a few words about the music itself. What lies before us is a rich and instrumentally deep folk-rock, sometimes reminiscent of Ulver, sometimes tend towards the psychedelia of the already mentioned The Owl Service and sometimes progressive rock in its modern sense can be heard as well. With all that highly significant material it is filled with catchy and almost pop-musical rhythms (I cannot get rid of the Chris Isaac analogy in the track Myling). It should sound spectacular on live performances (and I would like to see their visit to Russia one day).
In the end, however, there is a fly in the ointment. The album is way too short; it is hard to tell the difference between one song and the other and moreover… But you know what? Screw all that! The record came out brilliant and wonderful, no fly in the ointment whatsoever. Definitely must listen.