John Dwyer’s name-morphing rock project is a relentless beast. With ‘Smote Reverser’, their discography can now legally drink in the US, but that insane prolific spirit hasn’t dampened the band’s commitment to the campier side of psych and garage. They’re pros. It’s all slick grooves, and jams that wander through every pocket of the blues scale. Take ‘Abysmal Turn’, where the drums still find moments for fluid, electric fills when the backbeat is throttling enough on its own, or where the guitar and bass find playful moments of off-the-cuff interplay while keeping up the pace.
So, Oh Sees are a well-oiled machine, but that machine looks more like a conveyor belt with each release. One glimpse at the DnD monster lurching over a decimated city on its cover and you already know what this album sounds like. This isn’t to say that the band aren’t pushing themselves. The 12-minute ‘Anthemic Aggressor’ is a hot-blooded bubbling whirlwind of improvisation and performance; you can almost hear the ache in the bassist’s muscles through the analogue crackle as the song reaches double figures, and his hands briefly flub the runaway riff. Twenty-one albums in though, it feels that Oh Sees need more than just a tweaked name to inject fresh purpose and meaning into their sound.
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