Thee Oh Sees Drop
by Adam Perry for the East Bay Express, 4/23/2014
Thee Oh Sees’ influences are obvious, but it’s how the psych-rock outfit creatively combines those elements — the meandering psychedelia of Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, the distorted-guitar dirges of Black Sabbath, and the fuzzy, rollicking bombast of garage rock — that makes it continually interesting. “Penetrating Eye,” the first track on Drop, the band’s new album, recalls Iron Butterfly’s jubilant (and somewhat psychotic) acid-drenched rock ‘n’ roll. “Encrypted Bounce” harks back to Pink Floyd’s manic “Lucifer Sam” but adds a bit of wry California hipness, while the jagged “Savage Victory” burns like sweet words whispered to someone suffering a bad trip.
Like Neil Young, who’s known for recording just about everything that comes to him, Oh Sees frontman John Dwyer is incredibly prolific. And it’s clear that the songwriter, who recently moved to Los Angeles, is willing to execute his musical vision by any means necessary — i.e., by using lots of instruments and employing a rotating lineup of musicians. But this tactic has its downsides, too. “The King’s Noise” and “The Lens” are monotonous in stretches, while “Transparent World” drags on a little too long. But for those willing to wade through the psychedelic swamp, Drop contains several mushroom-shaped gems. And if you’re hankering for more, chances are Dwyer and co. will release more music shortly.