Please don't stop reading after I say "psych". Violet Woods formed in an attempt to mirror and pay tribute to the folk acts of yore, back in the '60s when covering wise songwriters in brighter colours was the done thing -- think the Byrds undoing Bob Dylan's lyrical knots with psych rock and vocal harmonies. 'Violet Woods' is nice and retro, with lots of twelve-string guitar and rock 'n' roll percussion, but it also takes the modern day into account, using some synth here and there to flesh the whole thing out.
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8/10 Clinton Staff review, 12 November 2014
It’s going to be hard for anyone to top the poppy, jangly psych moves of this years incredibly strong Temples album but more underground bands like The Young Sinclairs and Cambridge UK’s Violet Woods are giving it a good go and are not to be underestimated.
From the opening raga-ish 12 string jangle of ‘Electric Fascination‘ , this is a band who worship at the altar of The Byrds, yet the pulsing rhythms and droney keyboards suggest time spent listening to the ‘60’s influenced synth tones of the likes of Stereolab and Broadcast. It’s a good start, the paisley-shirted likes of Kent’s The Dentists can be heard on ‘Over the Ground‘, the downward doomy chords surely containing some DNA from Cambridge’s favourite oddball son Syd Barrett. The band are best when sticking to the 60’s psychy blueprint, when jangling away as on ‘Here‘ they can sound a little limp. The production could do with a little more oomph in places but the melodies are nice and strong throughout. Phil assures me that the melodies creep through more and more on repeated plays and I have no reason to doubt him.
They often veer between upbeat Prisoner’s-ish psych thrash and sweet jangly treats such as the Lloyd Cole-backed-with-Roger McGuinn jangle and strum of ‘Take Your Time‘. The fact that this is followed by some authentic mid 60’s fuzz exemplifies the magpie nature of the record. The band pick from various musical styles, pretty much always with a 1967 date stamp and I’m particularly enjoying the hazy Real Estate jangle of ‘Driftwood Royalty’ A nice smorgasbord of retro psych pop moves out on Great Pop Supplement (vinyl) and Meadows (CD).
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