A musical ensemble must possess tremendous collective talent in order to sound rough and untutored without being trite or annoying. The new Woods CD, At Rear House, is definitely the work of such a group. The "Woodsists" as they prefer to be called, perform simple yet compelling folksy melodies and play repetitive patterns with an instrumental assortment that includes acoustic and electric guitars, tambourines, snare drums, and occasional eerie tape samples. The duo assembles its rhythms in an improvisational sort of way, gradually adding layers of sound. The musicians take their time and let the songs develop lives of their own. "Night Creature" is yearning and haunting, "Keep It On" is alternately driving and subdued, and "Walk the Dogs" is experimental and just plain weird. Every song is mesmerizing. At Rear House is the rarest of records -- one that is forceful without being forced and delicate without being too precious. Folk or indie fans should not miss At Rear House.
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