Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Thee Oh Sees - Floating Coffin

Album review by james@thesoundofconfusion.co.uk


John Dwyer's psychedelic circus returns for its seventh stint in five years, as Thee Oh Sees serve up another dose of brain-frying garage-rock. A new release from the highly prolific collective is something we've become more accustomed to than the summer in Britain these days. Barely six months seem to pass before more news of a new album, a collaboration, a mini album or a tour. They're not alone of course, there are many artists releasing several albums a year and touring endlessly in 2013. The difference with Thee Oh Sees has always been their consistency, their ability to deliver something completely new, yet instantly reminiscent of why you fell in love with them in the first place.

On first glance not much has changed. 'I Come From The Mountain' sets the pace within seconds, a frenetic energy that doesn't really slow down in 40 minutes. Contagious hooks, layers of vocal effects and Dwyer's signature yelp; if ever you needed to sum up what Thee Oh Sees sounded like you could do it within the first few bars of 'Floating Coffin'. The tone quickly changes and becomes as sinister as the album sleeve (strawberries with eyes and fangs... if it doesn't sound right, it's not.) with 'Toe Cutter - Thumb Buster', possibly the most brutal track I've ever heard by the band. There's always been a dark, drug-induced, menacing undercurrent, which is quickly set aside when you hear some of the best psych-pop tracks made in the last decade. This time round though, like the recent video, they're in for the kill and don't care how bloody it gets.

This is a record that took me a few listens before I came to this conclusion; but what sets it apart from the rest of their back catalogue is how complete it feels. Last years' 'Putrifiers II' showed how far ahead of the rest of their class Thee Oh Sees are. Whilst being brilliant in its own right, it was a collection of random songs that wouldn't necessarily feel out of place if they were listened to on shuffle or played back to front. Yet it still made many end of year lists and had nothing but praise. 'Floating Coffin' feels like the first time in some years that the band have made a complete album, one that only makes sense if played from start to finish. This theory is proven with 'Strawberries 1 + 2' which comes bang in the middle, the first half being a signature jam (no pun intended? - Ed), with the latter being a rare moment to pause for air. Perhaps my favourite bassline of the year so far comes in 'Maze Fancier', a trademark moment which shows that for all their colourful artwork and vocal techniques, hidden beneath it all is a set of musicians with an excellent understanding and cohesion with their band mates.

The sickening thing with Thee Oh Sees is that you get the feeling they have 30 classic albums already made and we're just being teased, year after year. We are just puppets and Mr Dwyer is looking down on us with a sadistic glare, pulling the strings once, maybe twice a year if we're lucky. It all ends with the albums most peaceful moment, 'Minotaur', and fittingly we're told "there ain't no cure but to stay". You can be sure that we'll all be here next year, awaiting the next prescription.





Free download: 'I Come From The Mountain'
(Click to stream, right click, save as to download)

Thee Oh Sees' website

Stream the album in full

Buy the album

Catch them live:

14 FRANCE BORDEAUX I BOAT
15 FRANCE RENNES L’ANTIPODE
16  LUXEMBOURG EXIT 07
17 NETHERLANDS EINDHOVEN AREA 51
18 NETHERLANDS UTRECHT GUESS WHO FESTIVAL
19 FRANCE TOURCOING LE GRAN MIX
20 BELGIUM ANTWERPEN TRIX
21 GERMANY KOLN KING LUDWIG
22 GERMANY STUTTGART MANUFAKTUUR
23 SWITZERLAND DUDINGEN BAD BONN KILBI festival
24 FRANCE LYON MARCHE GARE
25 SPAIN BARCELONA PRIMAVERA SOUND FESTIVAL
26 FRANCE PARIS VILETTE SONIQUE FESTIVAL
28 GREECE ATHENS AN CLUB
06/8 THE NEW SF EAGLE (TY SEGALL’S B-DAY POTTY!)
06/21-06/23/2013 SLED ISLAND FESTIVAL CALGARY AB





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