‘Vol. 2’ is one of those albums that’s billed as “a collection of rarities
and hard-to-come-by live recordings”, and that hardly fills anyone
with great confidence.
Wire-haired new kings of drone Wooden Shjips release their own records though, and spiritually they’re hardly the type of band that would cash in on selling us cuttingroom floor debris that we don’t really need.
‘Vol. 2’, then, really is a goldmine of cosmic west coast rock, from the far out jet purr of the opening ‘Loose Lips’ to the closing, fittingly named ‘Outta My Head’, which pulses to Dusty Jermier’s endless,
five-note bass groove, which the band hang many a tune on. The real strength of the album perhaps lies in the fact that “rarities”, in this case, doesn’t mean “crappy demos”. Vol. 2
The slow Doors-esque ‘Start To Dreaming’ was first on a Sub Pop seven-inch with ‘Loose Lips’ in 2007,
while New York micro label Mexican Summer initially put out the band’s cover of Serge Gainsbourg’s ‘Contact’ – the only song on ‘ Vol. 2 ’
that noticeably makes full use of a wah-wah pedal to a whispered,
stammering vocal delivery by Merlin-a-like singer Ripley.
A second cover, of Neil Young’s ‘Vampire Blues’, lends itself to Wooden
Shjips’ cool drool and loose,Vol. 2 psych grooves even better.
It gallops on and on (as much as a band this louche can be seen as galloping
anywhere), unwilling to stop, Vol caught in a cyclic kraut-blues jam – familiar ground for Wooden Shjip to tread.
It’s how they’ve made the seven songs of ‘Vol. 2’ last fourty three minutes, and yet somehow engrossingly far out instead of tediously self-indulgent.
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