Wooden Shjips: Back To Land


Never mind the pictures of misty mountains, magic mushrooms and Day-Glo eyes on the cover to their latest album, Back to Land - psychedelic rock band Wooden Shjips give a pretty clear sense of their philosophy from just their name. It evokes a sense of nostalgia with its reference to the age of the sailing vessels, but it also makes clear they have their own way of doing things (even in terms of spelling). Thus, their organ-fueled, heavy psych jams may echo bands like Vanilla Fudge, Suicide and the Velvet Underground, but they are constructed with a modern approach that is no mere pastiche.

Bandleader Ripley Johnson’s minimalist rock drones are dressed up in their most colorful and accessible shapes to date on this new record, with the usual propulsive, pulsing rhythms tempered by clean, melodic guitar lines and even some acoustic accents. Tracks like “These Shadows” are not pounded into the brain; they insinuate themselves through catchy hooks and dynamic playing. It's tempting to cite a recent relocation to Portland, OR for the "greening" of their sound, versus the more metallic brand of garage rock coming out of San Francisco these days. In any case, the days spent in Portland's famed Jackpot Studios give a more spacious quality to this album that suits the band perfectly.



Track List:

1. Back to Land
2. Ruins
3. Ghouls
4. These Shadows
5. In the Roses
6. Other Stars
7. Servants
8. Everybody Knows


Banner image: Anna Ignatenko