In retrospect West was a transition album. Back to Land feels a more confident recording with more purposiveness. The production is sharp and clear, and for those who liked the slightly sludgy production of earlier Wooden Shjips recordings (which matched the music) fear not. It matches the sharper, more assertive playing, especially the guitar work on show. And while Back to Land doesn't change the mixture too much, there is a more song-focused approach which also works here. The splendid These Shadows has an especially melancholy, bluesy atmospheric with some lovely, clear and clear guitar work, and vocals more upfront than before. Everything is sharper: there is no formless noodling, and while there are no extended instrumental wigouts (which I miss) the overall sense is that of a confident band really delivering here with a verve and tightness which is exciting and delightful. This is very good indeed and if the upcurve gets followed later on down the line, this band is going to gain an awful lot of followers from here on in.