WOODEN SHJIPS – Dos (Holy Mountain)

For their third album Wooden Shjips have carried the simplicity of their music over into the packaging, with minimal artwork and information - the five tracks were recorded in San Francisco in 2008, and that’s all you really need to know. Musically they have not changed much from their debut and the ‘Volume 1’ collection of last year, and they continue to blast out swathes of riff-laden heavy guitar rock. ‘Motorbike’ takes its Stooges guitar overload to the maximum, and overlays it with searing guitar solos until it collapses in a heap. ‘For So Long’ reigns it in a bit, and sounds more like an actual song, with a discernable lyric and the guitar used as a backing instrument, until it breaks free towards the end and delivers a lengthy solo. ‘Down By The Sea’ is exactly the opposite, being a ten minute guitar solo tacked on to a thirty second vocal – but if that sounds like a criticism then it isn’t, as this is precisely what I expect from a Wooden Shjips record. Turn up the volume and let it blow you away. The rhythmic plinking keyboards of ‘Aquarian Time’ give it a Krautrock feel, helped along by the motoric beat, and of course no song would be complete without a searing Ripley Johnson guitar solo. The garage-y organ and echo-drenched vocals on ‘Fallin’’ gives it a 60’s punk groove, and for this track the guitar takes a back seat and the organ gets to shine with a long, jazzy solo. While perhaps not as powerful as some of the earlier tracks it is still a great piece of music, and when it is over it is hard to believe that it has been eleven minutes. In spite of the bleatings of some critics who just don’t seem to get the band, I think that this is an excellent follow-up to their debut of a couple of years ago, and is the perfect thing to put on if you want to remember what good, old-fashioned guitar-fuelled rock used to be like.
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