Second album from pleasant psych-pop band Toy, again out via Heavenly. The slow jam psych-funk of Conductor begins the album and takes its time– so much for the idea of kicking off a record with a sharp rockin’ blast– building then stripping back the fed-in space-rock guitars, before developing again, the occasional feedback crunch maneuvering around at the forefront. It’s a seven minute instrumental and it certainly contains a certain confidence and independence within it.
Follower You Won’t Be The Same is one more built for radio, a by-comparison jangly-indie track, equally late 60s Brit psychedelia / late 80s indie revival. As We Turn keeps on down a similar road, if anything taking only a slight left-hand turn. Both tunes are approachable and upbeat (despite the latter’s brief indulgence near its end). Yet Toy have always had, I guess, a love for lovely indie rock as much as a penchant for swirling out-thereness; they have always kept the more experimental side as something to let off within reason, a sort of always present restraint.
The single Join The Dots is another seven-minuter, here the package already spoken of– wayward-but-controlled noise and a sing-along, tap-along tune– take their turn to show us what they can do. They remind me of the excellent Deerhunter in this respect.
Later, a track like It’s Been So Long speeds things up, keeps things tight and rolling, while Left To Wander changes tack again, here the occasional synth helps give it a smooth, extra pleasant feel, this time sounding like 80s Aussie band The Church.
Join The Dots is a more confident, possibly even consistent sounding LP than previous record, and an enjoyable one for it. The songs may not always be strong enough to pierce the brain but, while it plays at least, is a record almost impossible to come out against.
Starting things off with the accessible, flowing, single and title track, Back To Land, the American westcoasters’ (they have recently upped sticks and gone from San Fran to Portland) Wooden Shjips’ fourth studio LP keeps on down the road left off with previous record– 2011′s West. That is, less the heavy, Mary Chain crunch psych wig-out, more subtle, psych-beat groove.
And boy does it work. Tracks, in still usual Wooden Shjips style, don’t really veer off anywhere, the journey is set at the beginning. A bit like going round and round a wide circler-ish road, only occasionally going off shape, dropping in the occasional but not wholly unexpected, err, surprise; such as the wonderful floating– and not overbearing– guitar solo on, for example, tracks Ruins, and Other Stars.
Slower jams such as These Shadows, and the sweet-enough-to-bring-a-tear-to-your-eye, irresistible final track, Everybody Knows (with an intro quite similar to something Oasis would have done circa 1995) give the record a wider, lovelier appeal. The vocal style during the album remains suitably offhand, casual even.
Even after all this time, still good to have the four likeable hairy chaps back with us. Back to land indeed, then.
Hirsute psychers Wooden Shjips put out their new LP Back To Land this week– their fourth studio record– which sees the band carry on down the more danceable, upbeat psych-groove of their previous West record.
It is still unmistakably the sound of Wooden Shjips, though, and here current single, and LP title track, gets the rather uneasy men-with-clown-faces in constant slow-mo effect. Which is exactly what the tune was missing, obviously.
Back To Land is the new free-to-download Wooden Shjips tune, and is the title track off November Released new LP via Thrill Jockey– the band’s fifth. The track isn’t exactly doing a great deal for us thus far, after a couple of listens, but maybe you feel differently.
The band come to Ireland and the UK December for a handful of pre-Christmas gigs. The Irish gigs are: The Menagerie, Belfast on December 13, and The Grand Social, Dublin on December 14. We definitely plan to be present at at least one of those. But then we were present at the spin-off Moon Duo gig recently, and there’s only so much migraine-inducing, repetitive psychedelic circling one can take. Although the Moon Duo gig was indeed superb.
Moon Duo (spin-off to Wooden Shjips) released this LP at the tail end of the summer; a season– if one is lucky enough to get one- bitter weather forecaster ed– is perfect for this Mary Chain-meets Loop-lite repetitive psych-rock combo.
I could describe individual tracks off the record but they kind of all have the same features and mood. And the Mary Chain-meets-Loop is a very fitting description to this writer at least. While the record– similar to the recent Crocodiles effort– could do with some more originality, it still has its moments. Think of Circles is the soundtrack to tripping in, then some hours later tripping out, of a party where more was promised than actually came about. Circles is also just right to have on while driving along the big open road.
It is all about the right setting, the right mood. Download the strutting, sexy fun single ‘Sleepwalker’ below, (also be sure to check out the video to accompany it, easily one of the best of 2012).