Skip to main content

Ads

loading...

Featured Post

The Mountain Goats - In League With Dragons Music Album Reviews

John Darnielle explores the humanity of wizards, sports legends, Ozzy Osbourne, and other folk heroes and beacons of hope.
“Old wizards and old athletes are the same,” John Darnielle said during a Facebook live stream at the headquarters of Wizards of the Coast, the game company that owns Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons. He was there to announce the latest record from the Mountain Goats, In League With Dragons, and his rhetoric was appropriately fanciful: “They were once magic,” he offered by way of explanation.

Ads

ads

Flipboard

Flipboard

Wooden Shjips - V. Music Album Reviews

Wooden Shjips - V. Music Album Reviews
The dyed-in-the-wool psych-rock band returns with some of their most accessible songs to date, full of fuzz-pedal jams that capture moments of fleeting happiness in dark days.

The cover of Wooden Shjips’ fifth album centers around a visual pun—a hand making a peace sign that doubles as the record’s Roman-numeral title, V. On paper, it sounds like a perfectly on-brand gesture from a band of West Coast psychedelic jammers who, even at their noisiest, always seems to be striving for tranquility through rhythmic hypnosis. But while the cover’s backdrop presents a splendorous tropical utopia straight out of an “H.R. Pufnstuf” episode, the peace sign itself is rendered as cold, cracked concrete.

Perhaps it’s intended as a decaying monument to the death of ‘60s idealism, or a comment on how that era’s most incendiary protest music has fossilized into summer-barbecue soundtracks. Or perhaps it’s mourning the very notion of non-violent protest at a time when it’s become a fireable offense. Wooden Shjips have never been ones for overtly political statements; 90 percent of the time, you can barely tell what lead singer/guitarist Ripley Johnson is talking about in his smeared murmur. But if V. doesn’t exactly represent a shift toward newsticker topicality, its overall vibe—chill, yet resolute—suggests a desire to take that crumbling grey peace sign and rehabilitate it with some Poly-Fil and Day-Glo paint.

Johnson has said that his goal for V. was to make a summer album—but in his case, he started writing it last year during a summer where the sun was being obscured by black clouds both figurative (the Trump administration) and literal (the fiery ash that was raining down on his home city of Portland due to the inferno consuming the nearby Columbia River Gorge). Instead, he came up with a record that’s all about savoring those fleeting moments of happiness when you can find them. Which is not to say V. is a record of passive escapism—the opening “Eclipse” marches in on a fuzz groove that suggests Suicide gone Motown, while a saxocalypse threatens to erupt from below. But Johnson’s liquid guitar fills serve as the emergency sprinkler system that keeps the blaze in check, gradually tilting the track from sinister to serene.

In the past, listening to a Wooden Shjips record felt a lot like lane-merging onto an endless freeway where everyone’s going 100mph—your only option was to go with the flow and get lost in the blur. But if “Eclipse” assumes a familiar motorik motion, the rest of V. opens up a series of off-ramps. “Red Line” has all the hallmarks of a typical Wooden Shjips jam—rhythmic repetition, droning keyboards, backward-swirled guitar solos—but molds them into pop-song proportions and infuses them with an uncharacteristic bonhomie, yielding the most upbeat, immediately engaging tune in the band’s repertoire. And even when the band threatens to drift into a classic-rock cul-de-sac, they correct course with some inspired embellishments, like the woozy synths that permeate the Stonesy country rock of “Already Gone” or the keyboard clusters that brighten up the bluesy lurch of “In the Fall” like slow-motion shooting stars.

But even as he’s singing his most accessible songs to date, Johnson’s voice remains a highly impressionistic instrument, his words wafting through like smoke rings, disappearing just as they seem to be acquiring definition. The grungy gospel ballad “Ride on” is Wooden Shjips’ bid for “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”-level gravitas, but in lieu of a proper, belt-it-out chorus, Johnson just lets the song’s church-organ tones and fuzz-pedal flourishes fulfill his mission to “head to higher ground.” Ironically, V.’s greatest moment of clarity comes from the song about gazing upon the city you love through a smoky haze. “Staring at the Sun” is at once V.’s most earthbound and interstellar track, and, fitting for a song that sounds just like Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” reinterpreted by Spacemen 3, it finds Ripley coolly mediating between outer turmoil and inner peace. “I was feeling low, staring at the sun,” he sings calmly from his Portland perch, before revisiting last summer’s scenes of “ashes falling ‘round the town.” But in Johnson’s hands, the apocalyptic destruction is rendered as a wondrous hallucination, with each mercurial guitar line glimmering like an ember floating in the sky. Because in this day and age, no summer album is complete without a laid-back, feel-good anthem for watching the world burn.

Comments

ads

loading...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Loading...

Popular posts from this blog

Game Of Thrones Season 8 - End Game With Sinhala Subtitles

Nokia 7.1 Review

With Android One, great build quality and a sensible price the Nokia 7.1 is a winner in a crowded market. Here's our full review
Should I buy the Nokia 7.1?
The Nokia 7.1 is a familiar mid-range phone for the end of 2018: a notch, big bottom chin and dual cameras. But these cameras are pretty good, and the display is lovely.Its build quality is above average though, and with Android One on board and decent performance it’s an excellent mid-range phone with the advantage of three years of guaranteed security updates.

Nokia 7.1 Review: Hands-on

With Android One, great build quality and a sensible price the Nokia 7.1 could be a winner in a crowded market. Here's our hands on review By Henry Burrell | 5 hours ago
The Nokia 7.1 is a familiar mid-range phone for the end of 2018: a notch, big bottom chin and dual cameras.

Huawei Mate 20 X 5G Is First Huawei 5G Phone To Go On Sale In UK

Huawei has confirmed that its first 5G phone will arrive in the UK next month as the Mate 20 X 5G.
A larger version of the Huawei Mate 20, the Mate 20 X has some interesting additions, not least of all in this new edition support for 5G, which promises mobile data speeds 20 times that of 4G. Today Huawei has confirmed the Mate 20 X 5G will go on sale in the UK in June at £999.

Mark Zuckerberg Builds A Sleep Box For Wife To Have A Peaceful Sleep

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg expressed his love and gratitude by making an innovative wooden ‘sleep box’ for his wife Priscilla to have a peaceful sleep at night. The American tech entrepreneur, took his Instagram account and showed off his invention that helps his wife to sleep peacefully through the night as she cares for their children. The invention is known as the sleep box and emits a faint light between 6 am and 7 am so, Priscilla Chan can know that their two toddler daughters are about to wake up, without the need to have to check her phone.

Like Fan Page