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WOODEN SHJIPS

Wooden Shjips

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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stefro
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars One of a clutch of new psychedelic groups for the 21st century, San Francisco's 'Wooden Shjips' have produced some of the most mind-meltingly cosmic music ever heard. Over the course of 'Wooden Shjips' five, long, meandering and deeply-trippy tracks, the group unleash a torrent of cyclical, motorik-grooved acid-rock that doesn't sound unlike raga-rock duo Clark Hutchinson jamming with Jimi Hendrix and Klaus Schulze in a smoky, incensed-filled Indian palace. Indeed, final track 'Shine Like Suns' is a beautifully-constructed and densely-mystical epic that seems to last forever but yet somehow never gets dull, as the constanly-reverberating, feedback-drenched electric-guitars pound their way through reams of LSD-fused psychedelic rock and back again via calmer, serener moments of almost-celestial calm. Fans of Dead Meadow, The Black Angels and Hawkwind may find much to admire in both this eponymously-titled debut and the group's excellent follow-up 'Dos', whilst the group have also released two compilation albums of early, rare singles and b-sides entitled 'Volume 1' and, un-surprisingly, 'Volume 2' that are well-worth owning if you like you're psychedelia raw, epic, bluesy and feedback-smothered. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#282004)
Posted Friday, May 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The name of the band reads like a lysergic slip of the tongue, appropriately for a psychedelic quartet from San Francisco, a city that knows a thing or two about Acid Rock. And their self-titled debut EP, released in 2007, set the pattern for just about every piece of music the band would ever produce: a willfully repetitive rhythm; a cortex-melting electric guitar solo; and a lead singer locked inside an echo chamber, sounding not unlike a Krautrock Jim Morrison.

This early effort is a little more inhibited than later recordings, almost as if the band members were concerned about losing their (musical and/or psychic) way on their first trip together. The objective no doubt was to bring the listener into a natural state of altered consciousness, using two of the strongest drugs on the legal market: reverb and repetition, with a kick of feedback as a chaser. The sound of Erik Johnson's cosmic guitar can be a hallucinogen all by itself, capable of some truly warped contortions even in a song showing a semblance of melody ("Blue Sky Bends"). But there's a lesson here the band had yet to assimilate: when aiming for trippy, don't settle for just groovy.

These aren't virtuoso players by any means, and their music is better that way. You have to admire the almost military discipline of the rhythm section, including organist Nash Whalen, who to his credit apparently never learned how to master his instrument. Listen as they lock horns over the slow, motorik album-closer "Shine Like Suns": ten relentless minutes of throbbing one-note minimalism guaranteed to bring your mind to a complete halt, not an altogether bad goal these days. The fade at each end, into and out of a jam in progress, lends the song a narcoleptic likeness to NEU!'s "Hallogallo", in a similar manner giving listeners a ten-minute aural preview of infinity.

The Shjips would gain a reputation for playing a style of road music suited to empty, arrow-straight desert highways. Their first time behind the wheel finds them driving more or less between the lines, but poised to jump the musical traffic barrier at any moment.

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Send comments to Neu!mann (BETA) | Report this review (#1175624)
Posted Friday, May 16, 2014 | Review Permalink

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