Rose City Band – Summerlong (CD Thrill Jockey)
Ripley Johnson is the frontman of Wooden Shjips and one third of Suicide and Krautrock-influenced Moon Duo. Both those bands being responsible for a large body of stunning and mesmerising albums throughout this century.
Rose City band is Ripley’s other project (that I’ve just learnt about). It’s very much a solo project as Ripley plays all the instruments himself with the exception of the drums (provided here by Moon Duo bandmate John Jeffrey). Summerlong is the second Rose City Band album.
It’s a very different band and sound to Moon Duo and though there are certainly a few tracks that could happily find themselves on a Wooden Shjips album the overall flavour here veers more towards Country rock than Psych rock.
The eight tracks on this 40-minute album appear to take the Byrds, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Buffalo Springfield and other West Coast bands as their starting point and then let Ripley put his own take on top.
What you end up with is 8 laid back drifting songs that you can just lie back and let yourself get lost in. The album opens with two very country like pieces. “Only Lonely,” has its pedal steel giving it that smoky bar country band vibe and “Empty Bottles,” a fairly melancholic piece. The pace speeds up on “Real Long Gone,” a piece that again has a very country flavour but could still have seen itself on a Wooden Shjips record. Side A is rounded off with “Floating Out,” it’s title very neatly summing up the mood of the piece. Probably the highlight of this first set of four pieces.
Tracks five and six take us back to the pacier feel, bobbing along with washes of pedal steel and a sweet bouncing rhythm. “Wee Hours” the seventh piece is another track that could easily have been a Wooden Shjips track with its picked guitar line and almost hypnotic drum beat. Wildflowers closes the album and is another dreamy, drifty piece with lots of Ripley’s slow smooth guitar melodies flowing through it. A fitting piece to end this collection of mellow songs. DB