This record is not, if you were wondering (and probably you were), a homage to timber in its many guises, an art rock interpretation of a page from the Travis Perkins trade catalogue, nor an obscure means of listing said materials as a kind of handy beat-driven reference guide. It is in fact the most regular thing Whirlwind Heat have done thus far. They debuted under Jack White’s patronage back in 2003 with ‘Do Rabbits Wonder?’, a frantic 13 song collection of moog-grunge splurges all named after a different colour. 2005’s ‘Flamingo Honey (with indie celeb-chum no2 – Brendan Benson – at the desk) saw them getting excitable with a touch of premature sonic ejaculation, battering out 10 bruised, clipped tunes in 10 brief minutes. ‘Types Of Wood’ is, comparatively, just a bunch of usual length songs, with names.
What there definitely isn’t is any particular innovation, or slight of hand, even using the same coin. But what there certainly is is much more in the way of ginourmous freaking bass lines that sound like Frankenstein awoken and stropping the bindings off, more testosterone driven gyrations and more utterly carefree thrashing about with whirly noises. And that you don’t argue with. To that you must instead wiggle. Along with carefree there’s just a hint of complete pointlessness, and that’s probably the key to the whole thing. This doesn’t mean anything, and neither does it have to, that’s not why it exists. “The sun is round, the sun is brown, comes from the east and ends in the west”. See. He then recites the alphabet. For no obvious reason other than to make sound.
Their heart, even with their unconventional drums/bass/moog/vocals set up, remains with the grubby, unwashed end of grunge, round The Melvins and Mudhoney’s gaff. There is suggestion in most corners of the record, but especially during ‘Umbrella People’ and ‘Kill Me’. But its their underappreciated pop nous that defines the album through standout tracks ‘Reagan’ (like Beck leading a renegade funk trashing of ‘Blue Monday’), ‘Up-tight’ (like Beck funking up a football terrace chorus-line) and the exceptional and snappy ‘Slugger’ (like Beck doing ‘The New Pollution’ at double speed). Elder statesman Hansen is a bit of a constant father figure for the record actually, the machinery’s been tightened up and every limb moves like clockwork. This might be the 2×4 of their recorded work, if you will, but add to the kindling of the last record and the multi-coloured picket fence of the first and we’re getting quite a collection. .