Music Review: Both Ways
I've written multiple times on the music of Donovan Woods. Some of his songs have carried me through dark times. There is a whispery excellence to the songs he writes that makes him great evening writing music.
His latest album, Both Ways is a mild departure from his previous albums despite sharing these similar attributes. There is an increased emphasis and usage of piano, synth, and general volume on the album. There is a simplicity to the lyrics that matched the more complicated music.
"Good Lovers" starts as a simple instrumental but vocal introduction. But this isn't a simple folk-style guitar and microphone track. There is sweeping in and out of larger sounds indicating the orientation of the album. "Another Way" is substantially closer to the expected song and sound from Woods. Until the chorus hits you and wave-forming electric sound pulls the song into its refrain. From here on out, there is an unfamiliar level of depth to these songs that makes the entire more spacious.
"Burn that Bridge" is a slowly expanding track that further demonstrates the new scheme of production Woods has willingly moved towards. "Truck Full of Money" isn't far behind in absolutely changing what is expected from a full-blown Woods song. The drops and swoons bring the track to its crucial points. It pains me to say that "Our Friend Bobby" and "I Ain't Ever Loved Nobody" are predictable. These are some of the best-written tracks on the album. While simultaneously being the simplest, they make a great middle point for the album. They simply stand out in contrast to the dynamic nature of other tracks.
"I Live A Little Lie," "Easy Street," "I Don't Belong To You," return to the new larger or synth-thing of this album. They're simply bigger songs which vibrancy. "Read About Memory" makes equally dynamic changes in the voice modulation department. "Great Escape" is a literal explosion that is unparalleled. "Next Year" is the quiet conclusion that one would expect from Woods. Before you know it the album is over and you're ready to experience it all over again or in pieces.
In conclusion, Both Ways is the summer album that no one will want as a summer album. It's the album that I will forever remember as the pre-Peter album that encouraged me to live life to the fullest with my (currently only) four children. It's become an album that will forever be a specific moment in my life. And yeah, it doesn't hurt that it is really good music.