Release Date: Nov 18, 2016
Record label: Castle Face
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Garage Punk, Indie Rock, Neo-Psychedelia
With a career now stretching to the two decade mark, a band being as generously prolific as Thee Oh Sees means that you can easily slip away for a few albums, returning later to find although they follow the same construct, they sound markedly different. The slacker rock of 2005’s Songs About Death for example is totally different to the bluesy garage of Help four years later, but both could only come from one place. Similarly, Dog Poison - also from 2009 - adds fuzz and sludge to the garage rock of its sister album, but just two years later, the ramshackle sheen of their material up this point had been replaced with a stricter approach to song.
Thee Oh Sees' third album of 2016, An Odd Entrances, is a companion to their first album of the year, A Weird Exits, recorded at the same sessions but set aside for later use. (A live album was sandwiched in between.) The six tracks expand on the sonic adventurism present on A Weird Exits, going farther out on the free-form instrumental jams and farther in on the introspective pastoral ballads. The album-opening "You Will Find It Here" takes full advantage of the band's duel drummer lineup, beginning the song with cascading toms and cymbals before settling into a steadily driving heavy rock jam that features Dwyer's trademark guitar sound, an organ riff that Jon Lord would be proud of, and some almost-Gregorian chanting.
When Thee Oh Sees released A Weird Exits this August, the band showed what their reworked lineup was capable of on record. As a unit, with new members bassist Tim Hellman and two drummers, Ryan Moutinho and Dan Rincon, on board, Thee Oh Sees chase after speed. As a frontman, John Dwyer, the only member to remain in the band since its origin in 1997, is his own kind of brilliant.
San Fran riff titans Thee Oh Sees preserve their prolific form with An Odd Entrances (a title which inflames my grammatical migraine), their second album in three months on the back of A Weird Exits (it’s honestly traumatic, why do they do this?), a Dungeons & Dragons concept album. Odd Entrances sustains their exponential divagation into the Warholian avant-garde that they most appositely signposted with 2013’s Floating Coffin, when their thirst for psychedelica trumped their garage rock sensibilities. Rambling synths, dissolute guitar hooks, and those indelibly entrancing twin drums, administrate yet another lungburst of interesting, satisfying, near-improvisational post-punk.
An Odd Entrances arrived fast, even by Thee Oh Sees standards. The Bay Area-born psych band has always worked at a feverish clip—at least an album a year, in additions to shelves of singles, EPs, rarities and miscellany—but their 18th and latest studio full-length follows its predecessor A Weird Exits by a mere three months (for the truly impatient fan, they’d also released a live album just a month before that one). The band has reached the point where their prolificacy has become a kind of performance art, an experiment in how much worthwhile product one group can deliver without releasing an outright dud.
Short-changing sister piece to A Weird Exits. When it comes to the dual release of one rocked-up and one chilled-out album, Springsteen, Smashing Pumpkins and Nelly got it all wrong. According to San Franciscan garage oddballs Thee Oh Sees, the first one, August’s A Weird Exits, should be a psychedelic cross between Cradle Of Filth, Can and the MC5 that sounds like an evil blues-metal imp auditioning for Decca in 1962.