Wooden Shjips - West
In the present day of home studios and accessibility to all kinds of recording equipment and software at your fingertips, it’s impressive that the action of moving to a ‘proper’ studio can still make such a noticeable difference. West is the first Wooden Shjips album to have been tracked this way, as well as being the first time the band have enlisted an engineer, namely Trans Am's Phil Manley.
While the previous two albums were notable for their loose and lo-fi ambience, the tracks on West are dense, tight and almost krautrock in their rhythm, exuding a sense of drive and purpose that their last albums lacked. The searing fuzz that opens ‘Crossing’ is almost intimidating in its sound, while the drums have never sounded so clear and powerful. The groove they work themselves into on ‘Flight’ is joined perfectly by echoing keyboards that ring in the ears, creating a lulling psychedelic mantra to match the best of their back catalogue. West is quite clearly the band's finest hour yet.