Album Reviews: The Oh Sees ‘Orc’

The first album under the new moniker is a stampede of multidirectional noise layered together into a dreamy soundscape. 

Genre: Psychedelic, garage, 
Release Date: August 25, 2017
Number of Tracks: 10
Label: Castle Face

Purchase: MP3 / CD / Vinyl 

John Dwyer’s rarely steps into the same river twice. After years of altering from one moniker to the next, he finally settled on Thee Oh Sees. Earlier this year, Dwyer announced that he would ditch “Thee” and release a new album. But his ‘out with the old’ approach spills over into his music. Last year, the band released two polar opposite albums, A Weird Exits and An Odd Entrances. One delves into a scuzzy twilight of blues-driven punk and growling vocals. The latter shape-shifts an atmospheric medley of psychedelic jazz. But the two album shared a common dynamic vigor ushered in by double drummers Paul Quattrone and Dan Rincon.

While A Weird Exits and An Odd Entrances were of two contrasting worlds, his latest titled Orc, unites elements from the two albums into a surreal mish-mash of punked up jams. But Orc needs no introduction. Oh Sees jump head first into the action. The album’s opener, “The Static God,” is an eruption of unhinged punk rock oozing with brash surf guitars and colorful overtones. “Nite Expo” is driven by a mind trip of lively synth overtones and barreling guitar riffs.

One thing Oh Sees can do without sounding redundant is jam relentlessly. Whether on the sludgy “Animated Violence” or the trippy “Jettison,” Dwyer and crew work sporadic hooks into a larger sea of abstract noise. Lengthy and instrumental jam sessions occupy most of this album, as heard on the atmopsheric ending of “Keys To The Castle.” The album’s second half follows suit crossing paths between tribal architecture and wavy overtones on “Cadaver Dog” and “Paranoise.” Quattrone and Rincon flex their duel drum prowess on “Cooling Tower.” Similarly, the two drummers take the lead on “Ray Optics,” closing the album with full throttle bold bass drums, snappy hi-hats and rolling snares.

The first album under the new moniker is a stampede of multidirectional noise layered together into a dreamy soundscape. It embodies stark similarities to An Odd Entrances but is delivered with a brash garage rock edge.

Stream “Animated Violence” and “The Static God” below:

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