This West Coast nouveau psychedelic space-rock based unit has refined its oeuvre a bit. The moveable wall of sound remains intact, however a tad more concentration in melodic content advances the group to another level that would conceivably increase its scope of awareness within the college and satellite radio circuits. Nonetheless, the band has amassed a strong following, and rightfully so.
Guitarist Ripley Johnson's scorching, in-your-face crunch chords, trippy soloing, and the rhythm section's pulsating straight-four grooves are still administered, but this album conveys a balanced modus operandi. With streaming synth lines and a hard-rock footing, the program is not holistically raw, when compared to Wooden Shijps' prior excursions.
"These Shadows" is a thrusting work, comprised of Indie-rock type hooks and Johnson's airy vocals, followed by "In The Roses," which is an up-tempo psyched-out journey, infused with Nash Whalen's swirling keys. "Other Stars" is a weighty burner, executed in linear fashion, and sparking memories of Meddle and Atom Heart Mother era Pink Floyd. It's a tuneful theme and another example of the ensemble's emphasis on interweaving harmonious content into the big picture. Otherwise, Whalen injects a dash of antiquity into the album via his use of a Farfisa organ. And the band closes the production with "Everybody Knows," featuring simple keys phrasings, heavily distorted guitars and Johnson's blithe vocals.
Not to insinuate that Wooden Shjips has gone soft and is aiming its sights more towards strictly commercial acceptance, as the artists hone their songwriting skills to even out some of the jagged edges. And these notions do not to minimize the group's previous body of work. Yet Back to Land offers a symmetrical outlook by associating a take no prisoners approach with harmonically appealing choruses that coalesce the best of both musical worlds.
Back To Land; Ruins; Ghouls; These Shadows; In The Roses; Other Stars;
Servants; Everybody Knows.
All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.