Derived from America's western mythology and romanticism, the San Francisco-based Wooden Shjips incorporates vintage psychedelics, propelled by punchy back-beats amid Sonic Youth-style crunch chords and doses of German space-rock. However, the musicians do seed familiar turf into an identifiable group-focused line of operations. Perhaps a throwback to the '70s, due to Farfisa organ sounds and dreamy electronics and guitars treatments, the band mixes it up with a great deal of improvisation, shaded with ethereal ambience and a haze of semi-controlled gunfire.
"Home" is launched with a classic, distortion-heavy, hard-rock vibe, featuring Ripley Johnson's yearning, but low-key vocals for an overall motif that spawns a combination of steely overtones and otherworldly mosaics. The plot thickens with "Flight," which is designed with wah-wah and psycho guitar parts to complete the moveable wall-of-sound aesthetic, as the artists prod the imagination to wander or flutter into a prismatic abyss.
The album closer "Rising," sparks fond remembrances of the inventive German progressive/space-rock unit Amon Duul, as the band sojourns into the netherworld, with Johnson's rocketing riffs atop a pulsating sequence of grooves via deep space exploration. The band strikes an uncanny equilibrium between eerie, open-ended theme constructions and slamming pulses to delineate a corporeal stance. In a loose sense, they translucently merge a fact and fiction-type scenario that is a component not always attainable within many fantasy-land efforts, evidenced by progressive and/or space-rock outfits hearkening back to the 1970s.
Jazz is for me the most important cultural revolution of the 20th century and I'm proud to
play this kind of music. For me, jazz is more than a kind of music, it's the best way of playing
any musical material.