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CD: Wooden Shjips - V | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Wooden Shjips - V

CD: Wooden Shjips - V

San Franciscan psychedelicists lay down some sunny vibes

V: a call to chill out

Wooden Shjips’ new album was apparently written as a “summer record” and, if that was Ripley Johnson and his psychedelic confederates’ intent, it has been fully achieved. While this may not be immediately apparent to fans of Calvin Harris, David Guetta or George Ezra, V does represent a significant shift away from the frantic motorik monsters such as “Down by the Sea” and “Lazy Bones” that have seen the band take a major role on the US psych scene. Taking on the relaxed sounds of Spacemen 3, Grateful Dead and Neil Young, Wooden Shjips have knitted together laidback psychedelic tunes from a host of (sometimes rather obvious) influences, but they are a very welcome invitation to lie back and chill out.

While V kicks off with a nod to the bands' more gnarly past, “Eclipse” does point towards what follows with Nash Whalen’s psychedelic keyboard flourishes and Johnson’s trippy guitars and muffled vocals all wrapped up in a Spacemen 3-like vibe. From there, however, “In the Fall” ushers in a host of mellow tunes that are warm and fuzzy with jazzy inflections, stretched out guitars and looping grooves. Gone too is the dark and sometimes paranoid vibe of former times, and it would seem that Wooden Shjips have decided to step back, take a moment and exhale. Quite possibly something fairly relaxing, given Johnson’s keenness to “blaze my mind to glory”. “Staring at the Sun” even lifts the intro from Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” before sliding into a blissed-out and hypnotic groove with shades of Jerry Garcia’s most spaced-out guitar sounds.

V may wear its influences unashamedly on its sleeve, but there is nothing cheesy about Wooden Shjips’ latest. In fact, it’s a very welcome call to chill out in the sunshine after a seemingly never-ending winter.

It would seem that Wooden Shjips have decided to step back, take a moment and exhale


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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