Fusing metronomic Krautrock to subterranean 60s psychedelia and 90s shoegaze vocal stylings, Sanae Yamada and Wooden Shjips guitarist Ripley Johnson hit on a winning formula for their first two studio albums. For their third, they’ve ditched the drum machine, relocated to Portland and added a human drummer to their line-up.
The result is that they’re slightly less robotic, and a little more light and shade has snuck into their relentless effects-pedal riffing. In A Cloud moves the action to a soft-focus beach scene and Animal is a breakneck, punked-up 60s spy soundtrack, but elsewhere the mood is definitely ‘cosmic trucker rock’ – imagine Spiritualised covering Status Quo.
The cover art looks as if it was made in a 1970s drug rehab art therapy session and features a flip-top head eclipsed by the sun. The message is clear – open your mind, step inside and wig out. It’s hard to resist./o:p