For anyone who understands the link between the West Coast, Ladbroke Grove and Cologne
Chris Jones 2007
Forty years after Owsley and the Dead set the controls for the flipside of your mind, San Francisco still seems to have something 'different' in its water supply. Loosely springing from the scene surrounding Comets On Fire come the Wooden Shjips. Four dudes intent on taking space drone rock to its logical conclusion. Fancy a ride?
Six tracks of minimal bass riffage, vaporous vocals and fuzztone mayhem may not sound like the most original night in that you’ve ever had, but for some reason this band have got something extra. Opening track ''We Ask You To Ride'' initially comes on like a Farfisa 'n' LSD Doors parody, but after one minute and forty seconds the guitar bites and suddenly you’re in a MUCH better place. Cleverly, going at a less-than-rushed tempo helps draw you into this mind-melting miasma. Like some kind of dayglo Neu! They turn 3 notes into a universe of sound.
"Losin' Time'' bludgeons you with power chords, yet by ''Lucy's Ride'' and ''Blue Sky Bends'' the sugar cube's really kicked in, and the Shjips are going at a snail's pace to infinity; drawling, drooling and intoning… The final track "Shine Like Suns" is, however, the masterstroke. Over ten minutes of stately, fried grey cells. Yummy…
In the end this is psychedelic music, force fed through a post modern filter. We now live in an age where it's not only hip to reference the motorik sensibilities of Krautrock, but also ok to say you like Hawkwind, a band whose tail-end addition to the psych freakfest was viewed by the cognoscenti at the time as something of a joke. Now the crudity of their three note vamps are rightly applauded for the ability to transport us to Alpha Centauri using only endless jamming as their rocket fuel. Wooden Shjips understand the methodology and are also able to do something slightly new with it. It’s for certain that fans of Spaceman 3 will love this. But anyone who understands the link between the West Coast, Ladbroke Grove and Cologne will also feel right at home.