Drone rock is a difficult beast to enjoy. Once you’re past a minute and a half you wonder what the difference is between it and any other annoyingly persistent sound. That being said, if you can get into it, there are a lot of great albums to be enjoyed. Wooden Shjips’ latest album Back To Land, unfortunately, is not one.
Labelled as “spacey psychedelic rock”, the album feels more like the work of a burnt-out drone/psych band which has fallen into a near-vegetative state thanks to drug binges that lasted years on end.
Album opener ‘Back To Land’ sets everything off to bad start, with overly insistent reverb and echo and not a whole lot of anything else for underlying substance. In fact, the entire album is like this. ‘Ghouls’, ‘Other Stars’ and ‘Servants’ try to cover it up by playing even louder, but it doesn’t hide the fact that these guys are nuts for reverb and echo. The only songs that do make you sit up and notice are ‘Ruins’, which is not bad rather than enjoyable, and ‘These Shadows’, which is actually a really good song, so much so that the album closes with an acoustic version.
‘These Shadows’ aside, Back To Land is a huge misstep from a great band.
Back To Land is available now through Twelve Suns/Rocket.