The prolific San Fran-based Thee Oh Sees are not the sort to disappoint any music fan, no matter the release. A loose collection of members that come and go, geared to recording and releasing sometimes weird, off-beat and often chaotic musical experiments, Thee Oh Sees have been kicking up dust and distortion, and challenging the ever-changing sounds within punk, garage, psychedelic, and everything in between.
Frontman and Oh Sees founder John Dywer is a strong influence on the group – seeing that Thee Oh Sees formed because Dywer needed a medium to release his too-weird-for-an-existing-band solo home recordings. Known for the high energy of their live shows and the iconic album art they feature on each release, these are reflections of the creative energy they infuse each musical adventure with. Dywer also isn't shy about media attention, or being honest. Very, very honest. His bandmates don't often steal the limelight when talking about the music and they often don't get the credit due for reigning in Dywer and creating a cohesive sound.
Thee Oh Sees have been performing and releasing since 2004, and Putrifiers II is an album that features an incredible creative energy that isn't always believable when a band is on their 14th release. Thee Oh Sees are a favourite of many hit-making blogs but there is something unique about them that offers bulletproof protection from the typical hype that causes the typical downfall. Maybe it's Ty Segall, maybe it's hard drugs, but more likely it's that every release has a genuinely solid, genre-bending sound that blurs the lines between lo-fi garage, psych rock, grungy punk and perfectly produced soundscapes.
Putrifiers II is less like 2008's The Masters Bedroom is Worth Spending a Night In and more like a grown up version of earlier releases – another reiteration of Dywer's solo projects likely based on drug highs in the woods. The gem is the title track, a six minute and 13 second psych-rock soundscape that truly encompasses what is great about Thee Oh Sees. More emphasis on psych over punk, Putrifiers II has ditched most of the bedroom recording style but hasn't strayed too far from what they represent or the formula used to create them.
This album is not exactly ground breaking, but one of the best things about Thee Oh Sees is that even if you get exactly what you see and expect, it is still pretty great and much better than what gets many of the hype machines salivating. Stream the album over here at Pitchfork.
– Jenn Prosser
Jennifer Prosser is a Lethbridge resident, and a born and raised Albertan. A blogger, social media coordinator, and freelance journalist – her work can be found on jennprosser.com and on Twitter @JProssa