The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

REVIEW: Thee Oh Sees – ‘An Odd Entrances’ (Castle Face Records)

  • 8/10
    - 8/10


‘An Odd Entrances’ reveals a more gradual demeanour than its preceding partner, however, its capacity to build enormous sonic pressure remains painstakingly present.

Last month’s announcement that Thee Oh Sees would be releasing a sequel to August’s A Weird Exits came as little surprise to fans conscious of the band’s mind-boggling work ethic. Whilst it remains a mystery where John Dwyer finds the time and energy to continuously drop record after record as well maintain his habit of relentless touring across America, The Oh Sees have rarely failed to deliver the goods to their still steadily expanding fan base. Dwyer’s foundations, which ordinarily fill the crevasses between psychedelic and garage rock, have remained consistently devastating in practice. Riding their reputation as the host of countless perspiration inducing live shows, Thee Oh Sees are yet to relinquish their title as one of music’s most intense and intimate performers. Their new album An Odd Entrances reveals a more gradual demeanour than its preceding partner, however, its capacity to build enormous sonic pressure remains painstakingly present.

Unlike the velocity of recent ventures, AOE never hits the familiar optimum pace Thee Oh Sees are forever capable of. Instead, Dwyer slinks into a tempo far more accustomed to the flow of washed out psychedelia – something he flirted with on last year’s Mutilator Defeated At Last during tracks like ‘Sticky Hulks’. When songs on AOE begin to climb or increase tension, the guitar will open up but never climax; a trait that’s both as tantalisingly as it is powerful. Opening track, ‘You Will Find It Here’ builds with the signature Oh Sees weight of the guitar and Dwyer’s vocal floating ominously above head. The same can be said about ‘Nervous Tech (Nah John)’, instead this time Dwyer’s vocal is absent and the staccato throb and erratic guitar licks are less conventional in their approach. Although dissonant by nature, they make absolute use of the band’s recently inducted drumming duo, each filling the otherwise empty space with rhythmic stop/start beat arrangements.

The more melodic moments of AOE lie within centre tracks ‘The Poem’ and ‘At The End, On The Stairs’. Proving a sharp edge isn’t in fact their only reliable forte, Thee Oh Sees send us wandering down stream aboard a dreamlike vessel, floating solemnly upon each whispering harmony. It’s these qualities that make AOE impressive in its own right. Whilst Dwyer still helps fill the focal section of modern psychedelia, his delving’s into his more subdued persona reveals his success in deeper musical experimentation. Starting with the raw filth and shredded solos of AWE, Thee Oh Sees conclude their latest project with a fresh turn of events for fans to ponder upon. Whether or not they decide to take it further on the next record remains uncertain, although it’s doubtful we’ll have to wait long to find out. (8/10) (Ollie Rankine) 

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