[sic] Magazine

Wooden Shjips – West

It’s been a busy year for the badger-bearded psyche overlord Ripley Johnson . Not content with melting minds via his Moon Duo missives, he’s also been keeping the Wooden Shjips iron firmly in fire too, and the frazzled space-rock it’s produced duly blows this year’s best efforts of the former straight out of the water.

Proud enough of his adopted Bay Area to emblazon the album cover with the Golden Gate Bridge, West is then, at its heart, business as usual for this collection of power-psyche pioneers. Muscular repeats and heavy cosmic grooves dominate, which, along with a fuzzed-up guitar riff and stratospheric 60s organ help lend the catchy opener “Black Smoke Rising” an outer-rings dance-floor vibe.

Added to the usual Wooden Shjips palette however we find identifiably classic rock anchors. By way of example, “Home”, outside of its vocal, brings to mind Suicide thumbing through AC/DC sheet music. In turn, the patient “Flight” houses a low-in-the-mix riff ripped from the Black Sabbath catalogue. Decorating each sonic storm without exception, intergalactic guitar work more than makes itself known, beaming directly into the mind’s third eye.

As if it were needed, acting to prove the current confidence in the Wooden Shjips camp, West ‘s closer, “Rising”, even has the balls to run entirely in reverse, clipping Johnson’s vocal unintelligibly as a result. Its drums work back-to-front. That iconic fuzzy drone maintains its pitch.

It would seem mainlined psyche this single-minded and potent works when taken from any direction: North, South, East or West .

Advised downloads: “Black Smoke Rising” and “Lazy Bones”.

~West is out now on Thrill Jockey .~

Wooden Shjips @ myspace