Wooden Shjips

What a treat it is to sink your teeth into a new record by this San Francisco quartet. Dos is only their second full length creation, but already it feels like the band have reformed in order to bring us this due to the drip-feed stream of limited edition and self released nuggets that have circulated since their initial conception. Everything from their artwork to their uncompromisingly mesmeric sound give this band a cult tinge and Dos, more than anything they've ever done, is utterly self-indulgent bliss.

Things have changed slightly since their Vol. 1 release. The songs have got lighter and less abrasive. Their means of attack has shifted away from the long drawn out bludgeoning of songs like Shrinking Moon to a more gentle form of intoxication. The result is the same and each of the five tracks here glistens with an effervescent cool that is simply captivating. Motorbike and For So Long act as concise warm up songs with their repetitive swirling, narcotic rhythm threatening to stretch out endlessly. But that is left to Down By The Sea, a song that certainly shows that these guys can still go the distance. There are certain things you expect from certain bands and an eleven-minuter is this bands USP. After the first few minutes of this song you can almost hear it adjust its seat, shift up into a steady gear and kick back for the long haul. It rides endlessly on the same gentle rhythm but it's Eric "Ripley" Johnson's swirling guitar that does the hard work. He sounds like he's got an army of The Edges behind him as he coaxes superhuman sounds out of his instrument. They duck and dive in and out of the beat, fading to a slushy grumble sometimes then lifting to euphoric heights, but once they emerge off the back of the already submerged vocals in minute 2 they never stop until the whole song gasps its last mighty breath. It's pure muscle and one that makes the measly 6 minute Aquarian Time seem like a cool breeze. Thankfully the mightiest has been saved for last and as Fallin' stretches out for just short of eleven and a half minutes, another cruise control moment sets in. It's less muscular than Down By The Sea and is based around Nash Whalen's swirlingly, hypnotizing organ. It brings the album to quite a gentle close but as with most of this bands work it is so addictive you just want to start again.

I think Dos captures this addiction more succinctly than the other releases. It eases off the pummeling but still maintains the intensity. From the opening note you are submerged in minimal and unconditional psychedelia that makes no pretenses as to its influences but with stamina that leaves most other bands for dust they stretch out way beyond these reference points to a place all their own.