Woods & Amps for Christ: Woods & Amps for Christ Review
In the case of split LP’s, I always think that the bigger bands contribution, in addition to the music, is an endorsement of the lesser known band. In the case of this release, I wasn’t familiar with Amps for Christ, but anything that the band Woods stamp their name on I am going to at least give it a spin. Considering Woods are not only a stellar psych-folk band but also proprietors of the consistently great Woodsist Record Label, it should be no surprise that they picked fine company for their latest release.
We will get to Woods portion of this release in a bit, but first a few words about their partners in crime, California based band Amps in Christ, the new project of music veteran Henry Barnes. Not surprisingly, the tunes from Amps in Christ don’t fall too far from the approach taken by Woods, but the band are a little bit more frazzled and unwieldy. From the distant, damaged folk of “When” and “Lord Bateman (Child #53)” to the mystical far east jam “Roto Koto in C Major,” Amps in Christ will sound familiar and agreeable to fans of the material Woods have been creating over the last few years, even at times stretching out to a more wide eyed sound.
The main feature of the split (for me at least) was hearing new material from Woods. The band didn’t disappoint on the gentle acid folk of “Brothers” and “Wind was the Wine,” both of which could have fit in nicely on their influential LP’s Sun and Shade, At Echo Lake and Songs of Shame. They expand on their noisy side a bit more on “September Saturn” and “From Oatmeal to Buttermilk,” which is the only song on the release to feature both of the bands. The only slip up from Woods is the mundane “Sleep,” which skews a little to closely to Blind Melon esqe pop for my taste and loses out on the formula that makes the band so great.
Ultimately, most people will probably be like myself and give this split a chance based on their knowledge of the great stuff Woods have done in the past. Luckily Woods (namely Jeremy Earl, their front man and the head honcho of Woodsist) do not let fans down in regards to picking a partner in crime who can hold their own. While I came in (and left) a big fan of Woods brand of pysch fried folk, I left with a new band to keep up with as Amps with Christ showed clearly why they were a band that Woods were willing to share some wax with.