Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
Buy On
  1. Dec 11, 2013
    Back To Land won’t immediately blow you away, but that warm, overdriven sound makes the latest LP from this San Francisco quartet another compelling one.
  2. Nov 14, 2013
    Wooden Shjips' approach with Back To Land is akin to seduction rather than press-ganging. Smooth and lustrous throughout, this collection should see Wooden Shjips emerge from their subterranean lair to reach a deservedly wider audience.
  3. Nov 11, 2013
    Wooden Shjips succeed in making their material as easy listening and cool as possible, and tread on the trails of acclaimed artists such as Tom Petty.
  4. Nov 6, 2013
    Their strengths lie within rocky, repetitive grooves and guitar wizardry, with Johnson’s own appearance aptly resembling that of a wizard. Tellingly, the band only once surpass a running time of six minutes on Back To Land. In this case, less is more.
  5. Alternative Press
    Nov 4, 2013
    Back To Land whispers intimately and hauntingly of both paranoia and peace. [Dec 2013, p.102]
  6. Mojo
    Nov 4, 2013
    These Wooden Shjips, however unchanging, even conservative, are becoming increasingly irresistible. [Nov 2013, p.86]
  7. Nov 14, 2013
    Even while it seems like Back to Land bubbles in those familiar pools of repetition, their playing more often coaxes the groove to take flight rather than be run into the ground.
  8. Classic Rock Magazine
    Jan 2, 2014
    Back To Land lets the sun in through the grooves. [Jan 2014, p.116]
  9. Dec 17, 2013
    It’s still a trip, just a marginally more vivid one, and that’s a good thing.
  10. Nov 14, 2013
    It might not be the album you were expecting at all, but it’s certainly one that proves Wooden Shjips’ free spirit still reigns.
  11. Nov 14, 2013
    The overall pace, sequence, and vibe of Back to Land finds the Shjips teetering on the edge of classic rock mania with enough restraint to keep things minimal, mystical, and interesting throughout.
  12. Nov 14, 2013
    It's the trickling-down of dusty record bins everywhere, reduced to simple essence and repeated till it hurts.
  13. 70
    Opening track ‘Back To Land’ wouldn’t be out of place at an Eric Clapton gig, closer ‘Everybody Knows’ is dreary, and ‘These Shadows’ could be a Mazzy Star throwaway. The rest, however, is gold.
  14. 70
    Back To Land is the most forgiving, clear album in the Wooden Shjips catalog, an interesting step for a band once lauded for their obscurity.
  15. Nov 11, 2013
    It’s music conceived for interior spaces but influenced by open-air ones.
  16. 70
    Back to Land, then: business as usual, but the business remains good.
  17. Uncut
    Nov 4, 2013
    Their horizon expands via garage-psych incantation "In The Roses" and chugging closer "Everybody Knows," which suggests a Granddaddy epic; the Shjips' ragged country-rock opus is clearly some way off yet. [Dec 2013, p.75]
  18. Nov 15, 2013
    Whether this breakthrough portends a change in course remains to be seen, but, at this point in their consistent-to-a-fault career, it's encouraging to hear Wooden Shjips draw the emotion out of their motion.
  19. Q Magazine
    Nov 25, 2013
    It still nods to The Velvet Underground and strung-out '80s pioneers Spacemen 3 and Loop, but chord changes are no longer as rare as Shane MacGowan's teeth, and there's more of a pop sensibility. [Dec 2013, p.117]
  20. Nov 8, 2013
    Johnson has made great creative leaps with every new album he makes, but with Back to Land, he seems to have finally backed himself into a corner.
  21. Nov 4, 2013
    Those wanting an intense, borderline overdose, hit of rushing psychedelia for 42 minutes need look no further, whilst others wishing for a bit more diversity are barking up the wrong tree.
  22. 50
    Ultimately, Back To Land is a little too much “vibe” and not enough “oomph”--a not unpleasurable 40-minute cruise, but one which sometimes feels lo
  23. Nov 11, 2013
    Undoubtedly there’s riches to be found here but the treasure map is harder to follow than ever.

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