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Wooden Shjips - Dos

  by Chris O'Toole

published: 10 / 5 / 2009

Wooden Shjips - Dos
Label: Holy Mountain
Format: CD


Compelling combination of German minimalistic influences and Detroit-style garage rock on second album from experimental Californian-based group, Wooden Shjips

A brash celebration of dark sunglasses and leather jacketed excess, Wooden Shjips proudly cavort their influences across the sweat soaked stage. Melding the relentless, metronome beats of classic German minimalism - a la Neu! & Can - to the garage rock sound of Motor City around the time of the MC5, 'Dos' is an explosion of sound simultaneously heading for the stratosphere and grounded in a clinical reality. It is as though Wooden Shjips were two bands held together as one by a mystical force; Erik ‘Ripley’ Johnson on the guitar and Nash Whalen on the organ release splashes of pyromaniac driven noise only to be grounded by the remorseless drive of the rhythm section. Omar Ahsanuddin on drums and Dusty Jermier on bass keep the band grounded – providing the rock solid platform for the histrionics of the other, more flamboyant, half of the group. The result is a mixture of fuzzy, almost hysterical guitar playing blurred into ceaseless, devouring bass. These themes are consistent throughout the group’s second record ‘Dos’, from opener ‘Motorbike’ to the closing ‘Fallin’. The steady, driving pace is established by Ahsanuddin and Jermier – a powerful, uncompromising force in itself – with their monochrome beat embellished by flourishes of dayglow colour from Johnson and Whalen. Occasionally Johnson steps up to whisper into the microphone, but the lyrics are secondary – almost an afterthought tacked on later, largely forgotten once the head-down, mesmeric grooves begin. Only ‘Fallin’ differs slightly, as here the guitar is given the repetitive responsibilities on a more uplifting and celebratory number. Little is left to chance however. The sound, while wild and unadulterated, is carefully planned and precise. Once a rhythm is established it is as though nothing – save the implosion of the sound system – will stop the unremitting pace. The carefully crafted, captivating Kraut blues, cruises passed with the roof down not knowing where they are heading and not all that concerned either.

Track Listing:-
1 Motorbike
2 For So Long
3 Down By The Sea
4 Aquarian Time
5 Fallin'

Band Links:-

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live reviews

Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, 18/4/2010
Helen Tipping watches American garage act Wooden Shjips play a 60's and 70's prog/psychedelic-influenced set inf front of an ecstatic and packed audience at the Leeds Brudenell
Borderline, London, 19/8//2009

digital downloads



Back to Land (2013)
Superb and surprisingly acoustic-influenced fourth album from psychedelic San Francisco-based band, Wooden Shjips
Vol 1 (2008)
Wooden Shjips (2007)

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