by Andrew Garrison
At this point, I am sure that you are all already familiar with Thee Oh Sees. They made music under this moniker for roughly the last six or so years (a few years prior many of the same elements were in OCS, an acronym that changed almost as much as the sound). Earlier this year, Thee Oh Sees gave us a very satisfying LP titled Floating Coffin. Now they have graced us with their third singles collection, the first two singles volumes were released together back in 2011. While there has been some change in their sound over the years, this most recent release really does seem to go back to the garage punk type roots. Many of the songs have a very stripped down sound with fast heavy guitars and high pitched vocals.
However, if you are longing for the most laid back, near 60s-esque psychedelic sound Thee Oh Sees have kicked around in the past, tracks like “Ugly Man” and “Burning Spear” ought to suffice. One of the strongest songs on the collection for me comes in the very grunge heavy “What you need”. Complete with the wavy guitar feedback to lead off, heavy pounding drums and high energy vocals shoot out of the gates, giving you a truly rocking sound.
The real gems on the album come in the form of two live tracks at the end. The first of which, “Block of Ice” which was recorded at the SF Eagle and the latter being “Destroyed Fortress/No Spell” recorded at Death by Audio. Both of which are downright jams, “Destroyed” does a phenomenal job of showcasing the transitioning and energy that you would expect from these experienced San Fran rockers.
While the sound their sound has tended to change, and even displays this variance in the eleven tracks collected here, there is one thing that is consistent with the John Dwyer fronted experiential-punk-pop-folk-psychedelic Oh Sees: They make good music and lots of it.