Brian Wilson once said “Songs are the most honest form of human expression there is-there's nothing that lies about a song.” With that in mind, it’s easy to see why Sherwood cites the Beach Boys as such a great influence, particularly when considering the San Luis Obispo, CA foursome’s second album. Written and recorded with the Beach Boys in mind, the album, which is optimistically entitled A Different Light to offset some of its sadder themes, reverberates with carefully-crafted power pop melodies and thoughtful, sincere lyrics.
“What was different with this record was that we had some more time to write and record,” Dan explains. “So we went to Mexico for a month to finish writing and demo everything we had. We had a house right on the ocean because we were scared of losing the Beach Boys influence since we had to be writing in October/November, hardly a summery time in Northern California.”
The result is a pristine collection of 13 tracks recorded with producer Lou Giordano (Taking Back Sunday, Sunny Day Real Estate, Husker Du), who polished Sherwood’s already engaging songs to a brilliant sparkle. Offering a dynamic range of tones and emotions, A Different Light revels in its variety while encompassing a unified, singular vision. Propulsive opener “Song In My Head” immediately absorbs the listener with its roller coaster-like turns from dulcet to intense with similar vigor to Mae; “Middle of the Night” offers jangly pop riffs as it showcases Nate’s towering, emotive vocals; “Home” successfully tests the band’s ability to pen a moving ballad-influenced number, garnished by the soaring, aching chant of the chorus; “Give Up!,” a hooky pop number, with a driving chorus, contains the simple likeability of Jimmy Eat World; and “For the Longest Time” explores the band’s slightly more introspective side, offset by the catchy chime of acoustic guitars.
Formed in 2002 while the founding members were attending Cal Poly State University, Sherwood, who is newly signed to MySpace Records, has rapidly gained a reputation as a band that makes things happen for themselves. Between self-booking tours, working their way onto the Vans Warped Tour and finding unique ways to earn money, the quartet is a prime example of the power of DIY thinking: “On our first tours we sold records at malls during the day to make enough money to continue touring while we promoted our show in town that night,” Nate says. “It was exhausting.” Adds Dan: “We got kicked out of a lot of them, and I actually have a slight fear of mall security that has stuck with me to this day.”
Sherwood’s DIY attitude and innate talent for writing engaging melodies and memorable choruses has allowed them to develop a devout fanbase. Now with a label that understands the power of the personal connection between band and fan via the Internet, and an honest, cohesive record, Sherwood is primed to ascend to a whole new level. One thing is for certain, though; Brian Wilson certainly knew what he was talking about: “We don't pretend to be important in the grand scheme of things,” Dan says humbly. “But hopefully, people will connect our music to their lives, and let us be a part of them, and we will do the same for them.