Wooden Shijps - Dos

(Holy Mountain) http://www.konkurrent.nl/

Sometimes you just want to rock. Nothing fancy, nothing clever, just straightforward rock music. And that’s what Wooden Shijps have offered up with Dos.

Not that it obeys all the classic rock templates – it just uses the good ones. Big beat, great guitars, basic riffs. Songs that chug along in the same vein no matter if the song is five minutes or twenty minutes long. Vocals back in the mix, reverbed and indistinct. A Hammond organ waiting in the wings, in case it is needed.

Opener Motorbike riffs along as you’d hope it would, rocking out with big skys overhead and the open road before you. For So Long is a little more restrained, a bassy and slightly funky confection with swirling guitars layered over the top. Down By The Sea repeats the trick of the other songs – basic rock riff – only this time they extend it for eleven minutes.

It’s a curious thing that the songs are grungy without really being grunge and psychedelic without really being psychedelic. They’re almost a garage band but not quite. The white noise slabs of guitar solos don’t quite shock as much as they do on, say, the first Howlin’ Rain album. Perhaps it is because of the propulsive and monotonous nature of the bass and drums. They anchor the songs as all good rhythm sections must, but perhaps they do it too well at times. 

Aquarian Time introduces the keyboard for the first time, it’s function like the drum and bass, to repeat it’s basic riff again and again. The best track on the album, Fallin’, is also the longest at just over eleven minutes. For a start it has the catchiest riff and the keyboards feel more an essential part of the track. Its template, like the rest of the album, is Sister Ray (not a bad template to pick, you’d have to say). The only downside to the album, alluded to above, is that Sister Ray was a song permanently on the verge of falling apart and it was this thrill that gave it much of its power. Dos rocks along almost like a minimalist rock album (a good thing) but doesn’t have the explosive power that great rock albums have. It remains in the same gear throughout. In a way they need to pare down even more, or take the sound to the next level. To really let rip. Having said this it’s still a good album offering honest summertime rocking music.

Words: Chris Dawson