Thursday, August 23, 2007

Saaaiiiiling, Takes Me Away

Alright. So it looks like an advance copy of the new Wooden Shjips LP has leaked and already I'm hearing whispers of "disappointment". To that I say no way, José. Not having any of that. Expectations have been on the rise, for sure, after their instant classic, ultra-limited 10 and 7 inchers, both of which a year ago they could barely give away but now are fetching insane eBay heights. The San Fransisco quartet have quickly cemented themselves as a psychedelic taut-groove standard. Much like their home city's medicinal marijuana, their sound is potent and impeccably consistent if not a bit predictable. Still, you find yourself coming back every week.
The new, eponymous titled album on Holy Mountain takes no great leaps forward but does offer a recorded fidelity perfect for these five songs. Every sound - absolutely unhinged guitar leads reminiscent of Les Rallizes Denudes' Mizutani Takashi, locked locked locked rhythm that can boogie and motorik with the best, those Rev/Manzarek keys and a more prominent use of their echoed vocals (there are a number of places where they remind of those mainline moments Columbus' own El Jesus de Magico trigger) - is pristinely present, all perfectly placed in the mix. I imagine the gripes you'll hear about this brief record will be pertaining to just that; maybe the band left a little behind in composition to focus on that sound, and it may sound a tad too clean for some ears.
But damn, once the vinyl gets spinning on those tables there shouldn't be any complaints, especially when the solos are flying, which is for about half of the album's 33.3 minutes. It's an approachable half-hour that pinches more than punches but still gets you when you least expect it. Hum on.
Along with this full-length (out September 10th), the Shjips have two more 7"s due out before year's end, one a co-release they'll do with HM and another on Sub Pop.

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