Release Date: May 25, 2018
Record label: Thrill Jockey
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Portland quartet Wooden Shjips encompass a West Coast sound more than perhaps any other band around at the moment. There's something lazy and sun-drenched in the way Ripley Johnson's guitar parts drift and meander over organ chords, there's more than a hint of desert rock - or even San Francisco smog - in the stoned melodies and muted weight of their songs, and their unapologetically repetitive rhythm section parts well represent long drives on the great American open road. The title of their fifth album is on one level entirely prosaic, but the way its cover art presents that Roman numeral in the form of a monolithic peace sign is also a clear nod towards the hippie movement, and of course the California psychedelic rock that was such a big part of it.
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.
The psychedelic San Francisco quartet Wooden Shjips have been steadily plotting away for a decade now, never shifting their base sound too much but always just enough to keep themselves interesting. Given psych is such a specific and niche genre, it's funny how little variation there is for a genre that is supposed to be about opening the mind. Nevertheless, main man Erik 'Ripley' Johnson has been spending his time between this and his other project Moon Duo, keeping the genre fresh and interesting for both psych-heads and casuals alike.
V. is indeed the fifth album from Portland-based garage-psych quartet Wooden Shjips, but as the cover art indicates, its title is also meant to resemble a two-finger peace sign. In reaction to the political climate as well as natural disasters, such as a forest fire which occurred outside of Portland, the group decided to make a peaceful, positive album in order to quell unrest and anxiety.
It's been hard to keep proper track of Thrill Jockey's still prolific release rate of late; a process complicated by the relative absence of new wares from its elder statesmen and women and by a heavy tide of vinyl reissues. The situation is though now part-rectified with a fresh wave of albums from older-hands within the label's ranks… E - Negative Work E – Negative Work Although actually a relatively new enterprise, E's members had pre-established veteran-status before they joined Thrill Jockey to deliver their eponymous debut album in 2016. The three-headed operation of Thalia Zedek (vocals/guitar; Come, Uzi, Thalia Zedek Band), Jason Sidney Sanford (vocals/guitar; Neptune) and Gavin McCarthy (drums/vocals; Karate) now returns with a second long-player.
V. by Wooden Shjips Because this is the fifth full-length record by Wooden Shjips, we're likely meant to assume that its title, V, signifies the Roman numeral. But the album art opens a wider set of possibilities. It features a massive hand, carved in stone, flashing the sign for peace, or perhaps for victory.