Editors’ Notes Wooden Shjips, a San Francisco band known for working rhythmic loops into hypnotic, eight- or ten-minute jams that take off and land like the briefest of chemically induced trips, puts a unique twist on the Spacemen 3/Galaxie 500 drone: they dip into the toolbox of darker, grittier bands, like the Stooges, or an inchoate Velvet Underground, grinding out a smooth, yet slightly menacing edge, polishing it with an unwavering, motorik drum-and-bass groove. This, their second full-length studio release, finds the band smoothly cruising a Day-Glo autobahn, keenly focused on the curves in the road and rarely detouring for guitar freakouts or other deviations. Hard to imagine that a stretch like “Down By the Sea” can hold the tension (and our attention) throughout its eleven-minute wind-up, but it does, superbly, and the band’s foray into something resembling trance-pop on the equally lengthy “Fallin” is brilliant, all cartwheeling Farfisa tones and timid, twinkling guitar spirals. It’s always a revelation to hear such fresh takes on decades-old rock formulas.

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