Occasionally a band will rend open a prodigious black hole, an all-consuming void that sucks in their sound and spits it out with such righteous fury that it’s in danger of making the rest of their music redundant. It takes some nerve to push an act of such grand folly out into the world, especially when it tugs so many ideas to logical extremes, implicitly drawing a line under them in the process. Fortunately, former Coachwhips frontman John Dwyer appears to have been born into one of the Faraday cages built by scientist Michael Faraday in the 1800s to make machinery impervious to electromagnetic radiation.
[A Major Label exec with a business ponytail — known in some circles as a “biz-pone” — sits in his office, smoking a cigar. A stooge walks in and stands at attention. ] Major Label exec: What in GOD’S name do YOU want? Stooge: Well, we’ve got troubling news from the front that I thought I should— MLe: NEWS FROM THE FRONT, WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SO? BLAST YR HYDE TO HADES… [composes self, strokes mustache, waves at stooge to go on] S: Sorry sir, it’s just that one John Dwyer is at it again, and many of your generals — the people who made this record label what it is — simply can’t compete with his firepower.
For a band that sound as if they subsist on a steady diet of cheap hallucinogens, Thee Oh Sees are an admirably ambitious bunch; Warm Slime is the fourth album in three years from John Dwyer and his roving band of psychedelic marauders, and if the liner notes are to be believed, they committed this album to tape in a single day in 2009. The semi-finished product lacks a certain amount in the way of precision and polish, but Thee Oh Sees were clearly together enough to make this stuff stick once the tape began to roll. The title track clocks in at 13-and-a-half minutes, and though Dwyer could have given himself plenty of room for fractured guitar bashing, instead he allows the song's insistent pulse to take over, and the throbbing groove carries it along with hypnotic effect even when the melody drifts off into the ether.
Thee Oh Sees do not need you to keep up with them. In the last three years alone, they've released six full-lengths and a hailstorm of EPs, all of it under a maddening, search-engine confounding array of name spellings. From the OCS to the OhSees to Thee Oh Sees, John Dwyer-- the madman behind this unreasonably prolific project-- has molted band names like some rare endangered bird determined to shake off pursuers.
A band known for its bold, uncompromising vision, San Francisco’s Thee Oh Sees open Warm Slime with arguably its boldest statement yet. The title track is a 13-minute psychedelic mess, perfectly encapsulating the band’s jagged aesthetic and extensive discography. With a one-two-three-four, lead singer John Dwyer (he formerly of Coachwhips and Pink and Brown) kicks off the musical maelstrom as it moves from sludgy proto-punk to a galloping guitar freakout.