If Woodsman was from Chicago, it’d be Mako Sica. But something happened to the Denver band since Mexican Summer released its 2009 “Collages.” Brittle bits of easygoing bohemian psych still surface, but it’s all contextualized differently. Maybe it has something to do with the ensemble splitting time between its hometown and Brooklyn. Or maybe it’s just that the band’s matured and waltzed into another portion of its career. The 2009 disc offered listeners a handful of low-key moments—all that whirring on the album’s closing “Mothershift.” Clever names aside, during the track’s almost twenty-minute run-time, Woodsman nonchalantly stroll through the track’s slower moments and sprint toward its conclusion. The song’s a rare instance of the band developing more than a single idea within a composition. Not much changed for the following year’s “Mystery Tape.” Another extended song (“Smells Like Purple”) closes out the disc, but the penultimate track begins to reveal the band’s newer nervy direction. Even with a slightly revamped approach to its song craft, “Balance” suffers from Woodsman’s lack of narrative. That’s not a total dismissal, but a good exposition needs to head off in some direction, instead of summarily restating its main point, no matter how enticing that might be. Last year’s “Mystic Places” gets all Teutonic and even includes what seems to be a veiled reference to Organisation’s “Tone Float.” “Parallel Minds” is the best hint that Woodsman hasn’t jettisoned its collective past for krautier territory. And on either side of that hazy track are songs incapable of functioning without a bedrock drumbeat as repetitive as it is simple. Expanded on the long-playing “Rare Forms,” Woodsman sounds almost paranoid as guitar lines circle around themselves endlessly, reiterating a single idea enough times to obliterate its meaning. Some vocals crop up, but nothing potent enough to turn these well-intentioned jams into straight composition. Dustin Wong and Grandeurs open. (Dave Cantor)
March 28 at Empty Bottle, 1035 North Western, (773)276-3600, 9:30pm. $8.