Volume is the first thing that strikes you when opener “The Fox” comes in. The record is distorted and in-the-red for most of its running time. Vocals, especially Carrie Brownstein’s counter-vocals that have long wrapped sinuous vines around the feet of Tucker’s, are buried in the mix and this is, oddly, a blessing. Why? Corin Tucker’s voice had always been a powerful, vibrato weapon in the band’s arsenal, but as she gained control of it over the years, she had reined it in quite a bit. Not here.
The Woods is an album crafted by a band who was looking to make a definitive statement, not only of their ability, but about their career as well. Beginning with labels as confining as “riot grrl” and “punk,” the band sought a plateau above the fray of genre. They succeeded by creating a body of work capped by this album, their finest moment and one capable of giving the biggest bands of the time a formidable point of comparison.