Vol 2 doesn’t deviate from the Wooden Shjips formula. Mainly, because it’s not a new release. Instead, the psyche-rock San Francisco four piece have selected a fist of five hard-to-find tracks and released it as Vol 2. “Hard-to-find” is, of course, subjective. But somehow, with this band, it flies. Committed Wooden Shjips fans probably find finding their shoes hard. Yep, their songs are that tripped out, that laid back.
Which isn’t to say they waste any time. Within 10 seconds of the start of Vol 2’s first track ‘Loose Lips’ (a 2007 Sub Pop single) all the essential Wooden Shjips ingredients are simmering nicely in the pan. Flange-soaked guitars swirl and soar, the organ spreads its succulent grasp into the deepest sonic reaches, uninterested vocals float in as if from the next room and the bass bubbles away at the exact same temperature for the whole song. With its pleasant skip-rope groove ‘Start to Dreaming’ uses the same ingredients as Loose Lips but to less effect. It doesn’t matter: it still sounds great and Wooden Shjips are all about that sound.
‘Vampire Blues’ is a Neil Young cover; ‘Contact’ is a Serge Gainsborough cover. But you could give Ripley, Dusty, Omar and Nash any damn song and they’d scratch their beards, plug in, and a whole lotta Wooden Shjips would pour out, thick as treacle, cool as Krautrock.
Vol 2 isn’t a record in the traditional sense of having a unifying vision or a sonic arc. It’s a collection of tracks and it plays as such. But sure as the new day dawns, sure as Titan orbits Saturn, if you dig psych jam rock acid-fried sunny side up, you’ll dig Vol 2.