Wooden Shjips- West (Thrill Jockey)

August 16, 2011 by  

Mastering a psychedelic 60s vibe as well as trying to keep a record sounding fresh and modern takes a lot of doing. It’s a challenge that most artists today would find tough, but San Francisco’s Wooden Shjips have certainly perfected their art, creating a sound space rock record which fits straight into the music industry of 2011 as well as the late 60s airwaves.

Echoing the likes of greats such as The Doors and Neil Young, the five-piece’s latest record is a psychedelic journey of classic rock, laden with fuzzy guitars, giddy 60s organs, colourful synth and rhythmic percussion. The vocals may be nothing new or special, but this is more than made up for by powerful riffs, especially the opening riff of introductory track ‘Black Smoke Rise’ and stand out track ‘Home’, which delivers echoed vocals and those three chords you can’t stop yourself from nodding along to.

Still, clocking in at just under 40 minutes with only seven tracks, at times West does seem a bit long-winded and album closer ‘Rising’ does not seem more than a drone. Nevertheless, it’s a brilliant third attempt for the US rockers and talent is undeniably something they are not lacking. There are so many layers to their music, but where Ripley Johnson’s vocals should be the main focus, at times they are overpowered by the buzz of amped-up guitars.

As the title may suggest, the record was very much inspired by the sun-baked plains of America’s western states and it wouldn’t sound out of place as the soundtrack of a movie based around these wide open desert areas. Bearing this in mind, Wooden Shjips have most definitely delivered what they have set out to produce and the result is a must- listen for classic rock fans and modern indie fans alike.

[rating:4]


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