Although it has more than a touch of ’60s/’70s West Coast folk-rock earnestness about it, “The Woods” feels somehow more approachable than this might imply. The overall tone is buoyant, not weighty. Cross Love with America and you’re in the ballpark.
A lot is going on here for a song that’s not much more than three minutes long. The crisp acoustic intro—yes, it kind of sounds like “Hotel California” for a moment—starts in one key then switches us to another. The song proper opens with a verse melody that descends via a series of alternating up and down intervals, a particularly engaging melody because it begins with seven distinct, non-repeating notes. This an nifty feat, drawing the listener without effort into the song’s universe. The dramatic drum accents don’t hurt. Moving forward, we get: a rhythmic shift with the chorus (0:44), itself featuring a yearning, briefly-sing-along melody; a revisit of the verse in light of the new rhythm (1:21) (and keep your ear on the lovely piano fills); a bridge that slows the song nearly to a halt (2:14); and a haunting, falsetto-driven coda inspired by the song’s first line (2:44).
Named for front man Husky Gawenda, the band coalesced as a foursome in Melbourne in 2008. Its debut album, Forever So, was released in Australia last fall, and is coming on in the US on Sub Pop in July. They are in fact the first Australian band signed to the landmark indie label. MP3 via Magnet Magazine.