zondag 16 augustus 2015

Mutilators Defeated At Last. Thee Oh Sees

And another album by the band around John Dwyer. Most songs are totally drenched in psychedelia. I could even go as far as calling it swamp rock. Why? If music was wadeble, it would be near impossible to reach safe shore through a song like 'Lupine Ossuary'. The sound is so thick. At the same time as impressive as a swamp, full of hidden dangers. After I discovered the band with its 2013 album 'Floating coffin', the band released 'Drop' in 2014 and now in 2015 Thee Oh Sees treat the world to Mutilators Defeated At Last. And a treat it is.

What is easy is that there is no need to ask much around who Thee Oh Sees consists of. That is guitarist/singer/composer John Dwyer and whoever he happens to be playing with on this record. 2014 touring members, bass guitarist Tim Hellman, drummer Nick Murray and regular keyboard player Chris Woodhouse. Brigid Dawson returns for some backing vocals. In other words at the moment of writing things can already be very different in the band, which is more a one man project with people that help out where and when necessary.

Is Mutilators Defeated At Last very much different from what I have heard before from Thee Oh Sees? No, of course not. For that most songs are covered to deep in musical dregs. The remarkable thing is that Dwyer always manages to make his outstanding quality shine through: his ability to write a fine pop-rock song. No matter how much psychedelic trash he lays on top of or under his garage/psych rock there's always a song in there. That is where my relationship with the band starts.

What I also like is the subtlety with which several songs start, but can explode anyway or not. It shows that Thee Oh Sees is much more than a one trick pony. 'Palace Doctor' is a great example of that. The almost jazzy atmosphere created in the background, is overridden by some nice guitar work and Dwyer singing in what seems to be his normal voice. In other songs, where he tries to sound tougher, it is sometimes as if he's desperately trying to sound as if he's not inhaled some helium first. Again, it is the variety why I think Mutilators ... a good album and Thee Oh Sees a good band. If all was as top heavy as e.g. 'Withered Hand', I couldn't live with the whole album probably.

The album opens with 'Web'. The instrumental opening proves to me why it was a good choice to work with the rhythm tandem Hellman - Murray. Especially Nick Murray lays down a delicious groove before he is allowed here and there to lift off. The two allow Dwyer to take his guitars and singing every where he wants to. Chris Woodhouse will fill the holes left by the other three. Together they interact as a band should. Even if this line up is together only for this album and even if all four members recorded their parts completely separate, there obviously is chemistry between them. All parts come alive, while giving Dwyer the space to do his thing.

At this point in the year, I haven't heard a better psych/garage rock album yet, while overall Mutilators ... scores good as well. There's no real telling yet where we are going, for that it is to early in the year still, but this album is on my longlist for 2015, that much is sure. Mutilators Defeated At Last is a great record, which I enjoyed listening to from the very first song at the very first spin and the relationship is certainly growing.


You can listen to 'Withered Hand' here:


or buy at Bol.com

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