OH SEES: ORC
John Dwyer is an expert in subversion. Right as his Thee Oh Sees project nears a decade under one name—and hits the peak of their popularity—he shortens it to Oh Sees. But despite the leaner moniker, their new album Orc is anything but stripped-down, instead jam-packed with the breakneck beats, scuzzy riffs, and delay-soaked “Whoo!”s we’ve come to know and love. Opener “The Static God” charges out of the gate with guns blazing, its anxious riffs piling up only to be toppled down by a soothing harmony in the chorus. Then once the back-and-forth reaches a seasick tipping point, the track dissolves into sunbaked ambience–after more than twenty years in music, Dwyer still has new tricks up his sleeve. They’ve also pushed the twin-drummer approach they perfected on last year’s A Weird Exits / An Odd Entrances to new extremes. “Animated Violence” opens up the space between Dan Rincon and Paul Quattrone’s off-beat hits, adding another translucent layer of psychedelia to Oh Sees’ hallucinogenic soup. And sprawling closer “Raw Optics” diverges from raucous punk into jazzy solo-trading, eventually syncing back up with a marching band-style riff-off. Even at their most intense, there’s a mischevious sense of fun in Oh Sees’ work that helps it feel like it’s being offered to us, rather than thrown in our faces. Unlike a metal band scowling over a thrashing crowd, Dwyer and his goons are right down in the circle pit, giving out as much energy as they expect to receive in return.
OH SEE’S ORC IS OUT FRI., AUG. 25, ON CASTLE FACE.