Wooden Shjips West

Wooden Shjips West
Psych-rock tends to be backwards looking, but Ripley Johnson wants to drag it into the 21st century. With both Moond Duo, who spice a healthy dose of Suicide-esque minimalism into the genre, and Wooden Shjips, Johnson has created modern versions that neither hamper the music with digital flourishes, nor offer yet another retro-retread. West, Wooden Shjips' third full-length, sees the quartet tightening the songwriting without losing the swirling brilliance of Johnson's guitar and Nash Whalen's pumping organ. Like Moon Duo's latest, West presents a clean, crisp sound, as opposed to the usual monolithic wall-of-fuzz favoured by most psych-rockers. It also contains what could easily pass as singles: "Lazy Bones" clocks in at under four minutes and is easily the record's catchiest number. Breathing new life into a normally stale genre, Johnson has again managed to create psych tunes that will appeal to even the most fervent pop fans. (Thrill Jockey)