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Emanating out of the dissonant fringes of the San Francisco noise scene, their second full length album continues to plough the visceral furrows first heard on 2007's self-titled debut and last year's collection of singles and rarities, Vol.1
Of course 'full length' in the context of Wooden Shjips generally runs to about 35 minutes give or take a few seconds of ear-splitting din. Yet that small but perfectly malformed number means there's not much of the kind of chaff encountered on CDs lasting twice as long. Quality not quantity is the deciding factor here.
Down By The Sea occupies 10 of those precious minutes. The spatter-pattern from Erik 'Ripley' Johnson's twisted guitar and wrecked harmonics, spray madly across monolithic slabs of rhythm like some turbo-charged Jackson Pollock.
Drawing upon obvious influences such as the Velvet Underground and Loop, their instrumental frenzy is topped by largely indecipherable vocals. Impressionistic and resistant to any concrete meaning, they're like a collision between Jim Morrison's sneer and Damo Suzuki of Can's haunted whispers.
In the resulting obscure poetry that such an encounter produces, the brain composites these sombre murmurings into a vestigial sense that's not so much understood as simply felt.
An album of experimental music you can cut the rug to: every dream home (with or without heartaches) should have one! --Sid Smith
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