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Back To Land

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product Description

#9 - Sound Opinions Best Albums of 2013
#17 - Top Rock Albums of 2013 - Chicago Tribune
#67 Album of the Year - MusicOMH
#117 album of the year - John Mulvey (Uncut)
#114 - Louder Than War

Wooden Shjips rise to prominence from the psychedelic underground to the rock and roll overground has been a steady sojourn. With each consecutive release, the band has found new ways of transforming heady psychedelic rock into minimalist masterpieces, bridging the gap between the woozy freeness of Les Rallizes Denudes and Crazy Horse and the tightly wound simplicity of Suicide and the Velvet Underground. Back To Land, the quartet s follow-up to West, is the first Wooden Shjips record to be conceived outside of San Francisco. Ripley Johnson and Omar Ahsanuddin moved to Oregon, where the lush climates became a major influence on the songwriting. The band s scope expanded to include more earthy, grounded tones, such as the acoustic guitar, without abandoning their modernist psych core.

There is an increased brightness to many of the songs on Back To Land, an easiness with which the band has flirted with in the past but never fully realized until now. The nervy urgency of West has evolved into an assured confidence, from the alliterative, interlocking guitar and organ groove of Ruins to the languidly compelling guitar solos of Servants. The addition of the acoustic guitar to the band s textural palate is coupled here with some of the most melodically direct songs the band has written.

Still, there are still plenty of signature Shjips songs, with distorted riffs, modal keys, and a steady, crisp drum sound unfolding intensely while the elongated melodic guitar lines drift in and out of the foreground. On Back to Land this energy is captured in clear detail, designed as an immersive experience rather than a passive blasting. Back To Land was laid to tape at Jackpot Recording Studios in Portland by Kendra Lynn and mixed by Larry Crane. It was recorded over an 11-day session, resulting in some of the most detailed and spacious recordings of their career.

Back To Land is a breakthrough record for the Wooden Shjips: nuanced, varied and utterly addictive. The band will be touring extensively in the US and Europe November through February.

Review

The quartet's latest release, Back to Land, is more spacious and song-oriented than its predecessors, with a warmer, more bucolic tone... Still, "Back to Land" retains the otherworldly atmosphere that has been part of Wooden Shjips' sound from the beginning. --Chicago Tribune - Greg Kot (Sound Opinions)

... one of the most melodic voyages the band has ever embarked upon. --Pitchfork

Contemporary psych minimalists Wooden Shjips invite us on another gorgeous expedition into space rock with their latest release… Back to Land is an even more refined headtrip that trances me out like Velvet Underground, Love and Rockets, and Spacemen 3 have in previous decades. --Boing Boing

... one of the most melodic voyages the band has ever embarked upon. --Pitchfork

Contemporary psych minimalists Wooden Shjips invite us on another gorgeous expedition into space rock with their latest release… Back to Land is an even more refined headtrip that trances me out like Velvet Underground, Love and Rockets, and Spacemen 3 have in previous decades. --Boing Boing
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 12, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Thrill Jockey
  • ASIN: B00F2TIJW0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,599 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Back to Land is a landmark release in Wooden Shjips extensive catalog. I've been a big fan of the Shjips since i first heard "Shrinking Moon for You" and it's been SO exciting to see the band morph over the last few years. Their first few releases are steeped in the catchiest sort of noise and distortion with soft voices bubbling just beneath the kraut-mire. Back to Land refines their earlier sound and brings Ripley's voice to the forefront. The songs are traditional rock songs instead of the longer (and seemingly semi-improvised) jams of Volume 1 & 2. It sounds like the band has stjepped out of the basement and into a proper studio. The results are stunning.

Any fan of rock music will take kindly to Back to Land. This album nails the vibes of some of my favorite bands ever: The Velvet Underground, Neil Young, The Grateful Dead, and Spacemen 3. Check this out! You'll love it!
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Format: Audio CD
4th release from San Francisco/Oregon band—hazy, opiate psych-rock with a smokey-smooth,
recorded-in-a-big-cave feel. The songs are a bit more subtle than previous albums, sucking you
in for the ride more than the flash. Bass & drums lay down repetitive rhythms that often have a
bounce which recalls Johnson’s other band, Mood Duo. Retro-sounding keyboards take a more
prominent role this time, leaving a little less space for Johnson to expand his guitar leads; but
when they do come in, they are fluid, masterful, riveting. The guy is a guitar wizard, often
recalling the licks of Mike Bloomfield in Butterfield Blues Band, or Alvin Lee in Ten Years After, as
well as Tom Verlaine (Television), John Cippolina (Quicksilver Messenger Service), Mick
Hutchinson (Clark-Hutchinson Band), and Guy Blakeslee (The Entrance Band). The songs are
played with a natural historic sense of 60s/70s rock reverence that flows with the power of
instinctual genius. The hypnotic, rhythmic pace lulls you into the fold; the music feels warmer,
more comforting this time, containing the quiet desperation of the vocals as an acceptable
illusion. The band seems to be concentrating on creating a mood, functioning more as a unit to
cradle the listener with an atmosphere of song. Although it’s not as obviously spectacular as
2011’s “West”, all of the talent and gooey psychedelic goodness is on display in “Back To Land”;
it’s just a bit further below the surface, teasing your ears with an echoing, haunted, subtle air.
Sometimes recalls Psychic Ills, Velvet Underground, the Black Angels, Moon Duo, Suicide, Brian
Jonestown Massacre. This one feels like it will wear well; I think it’s a grower. Wooden Shjips
has become one with the psychedelic process, a harbinger of pure, rhythmic drug music.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This album has been on heavy rotation in my car, and played/recommended to friends far and wide.

This was my first Wooden Shjips album and I subsequently bought West, and also have gotten into Moon Duo all due to this album.

The top reviewer nails the influences - I think I'd most properly describe it as a mix between Velvet Underground, Spacemen 3 and the Grateful Dead as well.

The songs will blend between psychedelic hazes and crystal clear guitar work, so it makes for great music to work or drive to as well as sink for a good listen at home.

These guys are carrying on a long tradition of psychedelic garage rock, so enjoy it while you still can :)
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Format: Audio CD
This is the warmest Wooden Shjips album yet. At maximum volume A soothing big time headphone sound production while you ride a high speed subway train droning blissfully through a tunnel from New York to Berlin. My only concern is that this is so good I'm wondering where they can go from here. Absolutely PERFECT.
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Format: Audio CD
A fairly straight-ahead formula--each song often starting with a slight accent of keyboards that at times one hardly notices, like a neutrally painted floorboard which supports the brightly painted walls that are the collision of feed backed guitars swirling in a closed room or on a ride in outer space. Such a collision of sound is penetrated weakly by suppressed vocals, REM-style. It's as if someone told Jim Morrison to put a sock in it or he was forced to sing with his vocals clipped. All of this occurs in a constant battle with the crashing splashing drum thwack, Moe Tucker-style. It's a compelling, if not a predictable conflict that has its roots in the Velvet Underground, Neil Young's crunchier moments, and Yo La Tengo's best LP, I" Can Hear the Heart Beating as One." Every now and then a tambourine slides in and in conjunction with the steady heartbeat reminds you that yes, you're free to dance. Guitar solos, when they occur, clock in around 10-20 notes, max. After seeing them live I now know that the synthesizer provides as much sound as Johnson's guitar. The psychedelic movie projection light show was a nice synthesis to the rumble of sound.
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Format: Audio CD
This album defines the (neo) psych rock. It is dreamy, droney and has deep grooves . Couple this with low key vocals and spacey but tight guitar solos throughout the album and now you have the ultimate psych rock album that can be listened to for quite sometime . In this particular album Wooden Shjips blend the vastly different musical styles of VU, Hawkwind, Jesus and Mary Chain and Television and make heady,trippy&hypnotic music which is quite unlike other psych rock bands like BJM, Dandy Warhols etc.
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