9/10 Dave Staff review, 24 August 2011
Overblown, pretentious, sexist and unfunny...anyway that's enough about The Wire (the "music" mag, not the hard hitting cop show) and more about the cosmic voyage that is the new Wooden Shjips album. I'm not exactly au fait with these guys but I'll tell you summat...this album is ace!! It might even be one of the best things that you'll hear this year. They have totally got the space rock sound down to a fine art. They might even be considered masters of the genre. This album is as good as anything The Doors ever did (for some bizarre reason the Shjips remind me of The Doors...is this a common problem?? If you suffer from The Doors/Wooden Shjips confusion don't be afraid, we have people who can help...). The whole album is one ace trip through different realities. It has all the hallmarks of a great story,or mebbe even trilogy; brilliant opening, slightly dark middle and rousing finale. It starts in typical 'Shjips fashion with the awesome "Black Smoke Rise" which is pretty much the perfect Wooden Shjips song. All the tracks on side one are guilty of having moments of pure psych genius, from the lolloping "Crossing" to the side one finale the absorbing "Home" which has the same urgency and brilliance as "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones. It even apes the main riff to some degree...but has bettered it by being a bit more futuristic sounding. That's another thing, the production. Its been taken care of by Phil Manley (guitarist and moustache wearer of The Fucking Champs, Trans Am, etc.) and it's such a well recorded record. I nearly started to cry my little arse off at the clarity and depth of this recording. It sounds mint!! The flip side is just as brilliant and worthy of accolades as the first side. The second side kicks off with a fucking ace song , called "Flight" and it has a really ace feel and slightly off beat rhythm that sounds...welll, just so fucking good. The second track on side 2 is a sprawling number called "Looking Out" and is massively hypnotic. It locks into a superb groove and never lets go. The proceedings are brought to a brilliant close by a cut called "Rising" that makes use of backwards guitar and sonics loops to great effect. This track has a really amazing feel, and is a quality song. It sounds like the best ending to an album I've heard in ages...its a fitting coda to an amazing journey. It comes on a clear vinyl that is green!! Could it be anymore psych?!! All in all it's one hell of record that is distinctive and bodes well for the Shjips. Who'd've thunk it!!?!?
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