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Wooden Shjips 

Dos (Holy Mountain)

Wednesday, May 13 2009

On their second album, local boys Wooden Shjips have entirely abandoned the primitive psych of their previous work, opting for glossy production, anthemic choruses, and a seemingly shameless bid for the pop charts. Just kidding, stoners. On Dos, the Shjips stay on course, with five songs in 38 minutes that should please the Arthur Magazine/Aquarius Records set and anyone who has ever wished PiL had more of a Creedence thing going on. Leadoff track "Motorbike" sets the tone. A vocal nod to the Jesus and Mary Chain's "The Living End" floats over sparse organ parts, echoey guitar fuzz, and a rhythm section that's light on frills and heavy on repetition. Like, heavy on repetition. This is to be expected, though, as the band has always incorporated the percussive mantras of Krautrock. Wooden Shjips' single-minded attack provides fitting context for guitarist Ripley Johnson's lengthy workouts — the real highlight of Dos. On "Down by the Sea," his playing especially cooks. He eschews the blues tropes of previous tracks and heads out into truly mind-bending territory. The song's peaks sound like the Velvet Underground taking a stab at the Dead's "Viola Lee Blues."

You'll be disappointed if you're looking for unfiltered, Hawkwindian space-blasts on this album. With Dos, the Shjips instead offer a pleasant day trip through earthy, groove-driven psychedelia.

About The Author

John Garmon


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