San Francisco psych purveyors Wooden Shjips are becoming so prolific, and recording for so many labels and compilations, they need to assemble these sets for fans every once in awhile so they can catch up. Where Vol. 1 presented shorter versions of singles from their earliest incarnation and shaped them into a seamless full-length, this set is different in approach and sound, though no less worthy. It covers a wider sonic scope and brings us up to 2009 in their evolution. "Loose Lips" and "Start to Dreaming," from a 2007 single on Sub Pop, are here; their infamous cover of Neil Young’s “Vampire Blues,” from a Sick Thirst single, has a longer, live version of its B-side here in "I Hear the Vibrations (E-Z Version)." A cover of Serge Gainsbourg's “Contact” appeared on the Mexican Summer label, and the live “Outta My Head” appeared on the Yeti Seven compilation. Also included is a scorching live version of "Death’s Not Your Friend.” What this adds up to is the sound of sonic evolution, from the trippier, more laid-back sounds of the earliest material that appeared on Vol. 1. The later sound is much more aggressive and adventurous, and has its roots more in Loop than in Spacemen 3. But even here there are exceptions: the Young cover is a pulsing, hypnotic, but overdriven psych-scape with its roots in Alan Vega's and Martin Rev's Suicide project, down to the vocal line; the Wooden Shjips' spin on the tune is a Farfisa, freakout guitars, and a snapping snare beat that is nearly machine-like . Even though this set brings fans mostly up to date, there are still tracks recorded by Wooden Shjips that are extant. Here’s looking forward to Vol. 3.
Wooden Shjips, Vol. 2 Review
by Thom Jurek