Review by Sants
“Swollen Cloud of Speech”
In brazen defiance of an era increasingly distinguished by a reluctance to change, The Oh Sees strive to remain novel with their 18th studio release An Odd Entrances. Recorded during the same sessions as the preceding album A Weird Exits, this latest six-song release on Castle Face Records exists as the former album’s companion EP. This time around, the San Francisco ensemble led by primary songwriter John Dwyer explore a different avenue of sound with jazzy undertones and ambient celestial interludes, while remaining true to the band’s punk roots.
In An Odd Entrances, the band is patient to arrive at the face-melting fuzz tantamount to earlier releases, ipso facto, the opening track, “You Will Find It Here” begins as a hypnotic garage jam, showcasing the dynamic sound of double drummers and enticing the listener into a trance with Sleepy one-note guitar bends, remaining purely instrumental until the three-minute mark. There is an unmistakable sophistication on this LP that suggests an exploration into more complex chord progressions and harmonies akin to those found in 1970’s jazz fusion.
Thus, the sound we’ve come to expect from the band, which is usually an eclectic endeavour of fuzz boxes and earthy screams, now seems nuanced and refined; naturally, this change will upset at least a handful of die-hards. The way I see it, as the age of man approaches its tipping point at an alarming clip and we all collectively gaze down on the precipice of oblivion, we are now given a choice: to obstinately follow the age-old impressions made in the earth, or to stray from the comfort zone of sound in a quest for innovation on the frontiers of music and culture.
As 2016 (the year which will undeniably be omitted from the history books) comes to a chaotic and overdue conclusion, might I suggest taking solace in the prospect of a chartered flight destined for Mars and subsequent colonization, with John Dwyer and Thee Oh Sees shredding cosmic fuzz-saturated jams while you stare out a domed window towards the sprawl of the black abyss and the hopeful future of mankind.