I love this kind of thing: I read in an issue of Wire some time back that this band, who sounded great from the all-too brief description that was given, were giving away free 10″ records to anybody who took the time to e-mail them. The word free is enough to pique my interest at any time, and so a polite e-mail was fired off, and quickly returned with a polite e-mail asking for some payment to cover postage from the US to the UK, but emphasising that ‘the record is itself free’. Looking back at my saved e-mails, it seems that Wooden Shjips responded to my e-mail after only sixteen minutes had passed from its being sent. Isn’t it great when a band is not only good listening, but also both polite and punctual?
Wooden Shjips are indeed good listening. The ultra-minimal packaging here (nothing more than a stamped white label 10″ in a white sleeve with a miniscule clear sticker in one corner) is nice and understated, leaving the music to speak for itself in all its repetitive, droney glory. Many people would conside ‘repetitive, droney’ to be a negative description of a band, but not me, bub. I’m a long-term fan of not only original exponents of Krautrock and psychedelia, but also their more modern counterparts. Give me Spacemen 3, Pink Floyd circa Piper At The Gates Of Dawn through Meddle, Loop, Can, Red Crayola, etc etc etc, and I’m a happy chap. This 10″ is a fine marker in the sand for a band that combines all of the things I love about their brand of music – it rocks hard, but it’s super-relaxed; it’s tripped-out and hippyish, but it’s moody and sinister.
Note to anybody reading: I like free vinyl. Feel free to contact me on this front.