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Back to Land (Deluxe Version)

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iTunes Review

The fourth long-player by these drone-rock masters continues where West left off, treading a slightly sunnier path where the bramble and gloom are cleared away as the labyrinthian rhythms carve themselves even deeper in the listener’s psyche. Back to Land opens with the utterly enticing—or should we say entrapping—title track: there’s no leaving once you’ve gotten to the two-minute mark. The churning, blood-warming organ is turned up in the mix, and throughout the record, adding a visceral kind of time-travel vibe to the party. There’s a Doorsy sensuousness to “These Shadows” and a pedal-to-the-floor, Modern Lovers spirit on the jet-propelled “Ghouls”; Ripley Johnson’s pining on “Everybody Knows” is heartbreaking, though he could be singing about the Flat Earth Society or the surety of paying taxes. Burning through the Shjips’ foggy cocoon to decipher lyrics is about as easy as not tapping your foot to their relentless and irresistibly hypnotic metronomic motion. By land or by sea, the Shjips deliver the goods.

Customer Reviews

These Mr. Fantasy Shadows

Can't help thinking about Traffic's "Dear Mr. Fantasy" as I listen to the last half of "These Shadows". Love the sound, though!

Entrancing and rockin

Erik Ripley always seemed to favor his experimental psych project moon duo over his more serious, nucleur rock band wooden shjips. Why, I don't know. This band is at peak form, displaying mastery of their psychedelic and droning trance rock sound. The songs literally space you out, and each song is memorable. The album feels like an album, all the songs fitting together with no filler and no wasted time. Just really well written and jamming tunes. And better on vinyl. Buy it!-Lee lapeyrouse


Formed: 2003 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

San Francisco's enigmatically named Wooden Shjips play a minimal, droning brand of garage-styled psychedelia with a noticeable '60s Krautrock influence. The band's vocals slip beneath waves of throbbing minimal rhythms, while fuzztone guitar and shrieking organs jump to the foreground. When bandleader Ripley Johnson assembled the group in 2003, he wasn't interested in playing gigs or becoming famous; rather, his original intention was to find a group of non-musicians for the purposes of creating...
Full Bio