Ripley Johnson’s output through both Wooden Shjips and Moon Duo has been rather prolific, and at this point, he’s already solidified his status as one of the finest and most consistent creators of psych going right now. His primary band Wooden Shjips are returning with a new album of kraut-inspired psychedelic rock entitled West, and the new album carries on with the band’s signature sound, which features loud guitars, swirling organs, driving basslines and a lot of repetition, creating music that you’re supposed to get lost in. The pulsing rhythms and hazy drones immerse the listener in a wash of sounds, creating a trance-like feeling. However, before being lulled to sleep, a well placed chord change or solo will jostle you back to life. There are a lot of bands that get labeled as psychedelic rock, but Wooden Shjips is one of the only ones that can actually make you feel like you’re on something. West finds the band sticking to what they know and do well, but we also see them refining their act as they subtly play around with aspects of their song structures, solos, and sounds in general – and to great effect. Ripley’s got more than a few tricks stowed away in that gnarly beard of his, and it’s all in the details. Listen closely and you’ll see these are some of the richest and most dynamic songs he’s ever written. West will be out on Thrill Jockey Sept. 13th, 2011. Check out “Flight,” “Lazy Bones” and the video for “Black Smoke Rise” below.
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