Osees (Thee Oh Sees, Oh Sees) – Protean Threat (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 38:24 minutes | 881 MB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Castle Face
Yep that’s right, Johnny Dwyer and his crew have returned, losing an ‘H’ on the way but dropping yet another impossibly amazing slice of intergalactic psychedelic fun for all. It’s easy to think it’s yet another album from this crew but believe us when we tell you – this one’s a fucking belter! You’ve probably heard the hooky as hell ‘Dreary Nonsense’ by now in all it’s one minute thirty five second glory but this lil’ puppy’s got a whole load more to give. Thirteen magic moments here – from the noisy as hell ‘Scramble Suit II’ to the rock hell of ‘Red Study’ via the krautrock rumbling ‘Wing Run’ to the slinky, sexy disco of ‘Said The Shovel’ this could easily be their most forward thinking / make every other band give up album yet. Thirty nine minutes is all you need. We love these boys. They rule.
Witness the ever-changing, ever-mutating threat that is reality. Perception is under duress; sensibility is bending everyday under the barrage of nonsense. One must make note of whom one is and what one has become: look into the mirror of the planet-killers—psychic cannibals infiltrate and contaminate once familiar and seemingly secure territories… formidable foes indeed! What powers these beasts? What fuels discord and hatred? The behemoth of a “civil” society? What are the weapons at one’s disposal? Generosity is the aegis against greed, empathy is the armor to deflect apathy, love is the club to abate hate…the fog is lifting and humans are opening their eyes.
And so Castle Face offers this field recording, the Osees Protean Threat, from the pits as a quick booster between protein pills and recycled sweat beverage anthems to assist the listener to not worship at the altar of violence and greed, to not offer oneself up for free, to stand up and be vigilant! Truth will not be found in the speeches and photo ops of the overlords— stand strong and together under the gaze of the oppressors. Stand vigilant, united with those who don’t have the same privileges. Demand respect and a peaceful life for all.
This recording is at the apogee of scuzz—punk anthem amulets for the ears and heart, a battery for one’s core. Be strong. Be human. Be love.
When a band have released as many albums as Thee Oh Sees, or as they are known now Osees, it would make sense that occasionally they would put out a dog, or at the very least some fraying around the edges may start to show. John Dwyer and his crew show no signs of letdown, burnout, or stagnation on 2020’s Protean Threat, the group’s 300th record, more or less. It’s just as weird, fiery, hooky, strange, and avant-punk as anything they’ve released; the unbroken hot streak they’re on continues to throw off sparks like an overheating amp that’s about to catch fire. Their last couple records took the band’s formula and twisted it into complex, proggy shapes, sometimes stretching the songs long past the punk-approved three-minute time limit. Here, the group stuff all their experimental exploration into much shorter songs, invest them with some real-world lyric concerns, and inject most of them with rocket fuel. Much of the album has the jagged, buzzing insanity of early Oh Sees records, but where those records were blasts of noise, here the jazz and prog influences the band have gotten into so deeply invest the songs with a chewy oddness that helps them hit harder than they might otherwise. The album kicks off with a couple songs that scrape the ceiling with their intensity and untamed energy. “Scramble Suit” has thrillingly abrasive jolts of static, and on the herky-jerky “Dreary Nonsense” the swirling guitars sound like two avant-garde saxophonists battling to a breathless draw. After this assault on the senses, they immediately pull back on the throttle with a pair of creepy-crawly midtempo jams — “Upbeat Ritual” and “Red Study” — that trade out the skronk in favor of a malevolent restraint. The rest of the record jumps between these two sides of the garage-prog scale. Tracks like “Mizmuth” and “Persuaders Up!” peel the paint from the walls with the fuzz-sharpened guitars, pummeling double-drum attack, and Dwyer’s yelped vocals, while the synth-damaged “Wing Run” and the wizardly proggy “If I Had My Way” sneak into the pleasure center of the brain quietly instead of knocking the door right down. The band are equally adept at both — as they have proven over and over — and only seem to be getting better as they absorb more influences and subvert them to their own purposes. Protean Threat is their most focused and intense record in a few years and the change is welcome, like a deep breath after a long battle scene. Speaking of that, it’s definitely a struggle to make good, verging on great, records over a long career; most bands fold like a tomato can facing Ali, but the Osees are winning with ease. – Tim Sendra
1. Scramble Suit II (02:28)
2. Dreary Nonsense (01:35)
3. Upbeat Ritual (02:11)
4. Red Study (03:13)
5. Terminal Jape (02:20)
6. Wing Ruin (02:06)
7. Said The Shovel (04:37)
8. Mizmuth (02:10)
9. If I Had My Way (02:48)
10. Toadstool (04:57)
11. Gong of Catastrophe (04:43)
12. Canopnr ’74 (03:01)
13. Persuaders Up! (02:24)