You can hear his voice! Anyone candid to Eric ‘Ripley’ Johnson’s L&Q interview last month shouldn’t be too surprised as he dwelled on the topic of… well, Pop is a strong word – everything the man puts his name to is heavily psychedelic, fuzz-baked and progressive, but here we have it, Wooden Shjips MK. II.

‘West’ is less repetitively star-gazing than their previous work, taking in more from pysch and stoner rock, but it’s all the more invigorating for it. Tracks like ‘Flight’ demonstrate an interest in more exploratory synth and percussion patterns, suspended by vestiges of the familiar Silver Apples-flavoured rhythm section. ‘Lazy Bones’, with its refrain of “Staring at the sun as it’s staring back at meis lead single material indicative of a their snappier direction.

The closing ‘Rising’ is then a total freak-out and it’s all backwards (get the vinyl to check for any satanic messages). At times approaching the greatness of John Cale-produced Stooges, it’s a lesson in making a third album.

By Edgar Smith

Originally published in issue 30 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. July 2011.

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