Thee Oh Sees – ‘A Weird Exits’ (2016)

In just eight years, Thee Oh Sees have churned out nearly a dozen albums. And that isn’t counting the six they have released under different names. Their eleventh (seventeenth), “A Weird Exits”, is not lacking of their signature, multi-genre sound; it comes with a fresh and healthy dose of cosmic experimentation.

The band have explored a wealth of musical styles in their expansive discography; garage, psych, noise and prog to name a few. The variation and experimentation the band are known for between each release is surely not lacking here. Two drummers are utilised and as a result this offers up some clever melodic interplay, such as on opener “Dead Man’s Gun”. With a chorus riff  reminiscent of Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way”, the track’s galloping tempo sets a fierce tone for the album. The tempo doesn’t ease off leading into “Ticklish Warrior”, an all-out noise rocker with a ferocious fuzzy refrain.

The first of two instrumentals, “Jammed Entrance” is an experimental jam with its supposed robot/AI noises masked as noodly guitar licks and blippy keyboards. The result is a symphonic choir of peculiar yet surprisingly melodic sounds that mold together well. “Plastic Plant” is a classic Thee Oh Sees psych-garage rocker, with John Dwyer’s echoed and reverb-soaked vocals cast against delay-tinged guitar. “Gelatinous Cube” tricks the listener into thinking they’re about to hear Sabbath’s “Iron Man” before propelling into a ravenous punk-rock anthem.

The tempo and tone of the album is then dialed down with second instrumental “Unwrap the Fiend, Pt. 2”, highlighting Dwyer’s ability to jam jazz blues before escalating the situation with his octave-ridden guitar. Coming in at 7.51 minutes, “Crawl out from the Fall Out” harbours the largest cosmic connotations through its multi-layered synth lines. The issue is, however, that the track as a whole never progresses into anything noteworthy. It’s kind of redundant, along with tedious vocals and annoyingly persistent cymbals.

Closing track “The Axis” is the highlight here; acting as a six-minute outro to the album. Pink Floyd-ish in tone, its slide guitar licks and church organ backbone compliments the melodic yet sporadic vocals. Ringing out with a piercing and phased guitar solo, “The Axis” rounds off another solid offering from one of the most dynamic and energetic bands around.

Favourite track: The Axis // Least favourite track: Crawl out from the Fall Out

Special mention to artist Robert Beatty for his fantastic surreal artwork (also for Tame Impala’s “Currents”).

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