I hate being a reductivist, but—damn! Wooden Shjips most recent release West really REALLY brings to mind prime Spaceman 3… and then again, no.

On the one hand they recreate that lovely, raw, roaring Spaceman 3 signature sound, bursting with fuzz-drenched power-chords driven by the simplest of drum pulses. The song shapes start as classic Detroit hi-NRG rock but boiled down it forms a little closer to the white-knuckled drones early Suicide specialized in. And this synthesis is being delivered in an appropriately woozy and ecstatic manner both vocally and instrumentally.

Where Wooden Shjips differ from their predecessors is by, on one hand, dialing up the tempos and thereby producing some delectably incendiary butt-kicking punk. On the other hand, they reintroduce vintage garage rock vocabulary—archetypal chord changes and wheezing Farfisa organ sounds—and in this they’re basically delving back one step further to the sources that the MC5 and Suicide were drawing from in the first place. These innovations actually take this basic oeuvre to a place that Spacemen 3 never reached but, hearing West, ya really wish they would’ve. But now Wooden Shjips have and that works for me! [Thrill Jockey]

-Howard Wuelfing


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  1. Richard Liotta says:

    Spacemen 3 had no soul, WS have more of an organic sound. Your writing needs to step up it's game. You're not even close on your impressions of music.

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