Ultimately it doesn’t matter if you like the latest album by the Oh Sees, Orinoka Crash Suite, OCS, Orange County Sound, The Ohsees, The Oh Sees, Thee Oh Sees or whatever they’re currently called as there will probably be a new one in a few months anyway. Since forming in 1997 John Dwyer has released 20 studio albums and as many singles and EPs under the above names. Now his Oh Sees moniker have released their new album ‘Smote Reverser’.
The first thing that hits you about the album, apart from the almost impenetrable wall of sound opening salvo, is how tight and intricate the songs are. ‘Sentient Oona’ sounds like a mutant Amon Düül II covering Bony M with Patrick Campbell-Lyons on vocals. ‘Enrique El Cobrador’ and lead single ‘C’ follow this blueprint, until things start to get hypnotic, Krautrock on ‘Overthrow’ and ‘Last Peace’.
The album’s lynchpin is ‘Anthemic Aggressor’. This 12 minute monster manages to contain free jazz freak outs, delicate melodies and searing solos, without toppling under its own ideas.
The album feels in a number of ways like a companion to 2017’s ‘Orc’. The previous album was full of high-tempo songs full of spikey riffs and garage rock vibes. On ‘Smote Reverser’ Dwyer goes off piste and elongates the riffs and rhythms, giving everything a late 1970’s Roger Dean feel.
‘Smote Receiver’ is what Can, Deep Purple or King Crimson would sound like if they came out 2018. Loud, hypnotic, vitriolic solos, mordant melodies with biting lyrics. It’s everything we’ve come to expect, and I can’t wait to hear the next Oh Sees instalment later in the year.
Words: Nick Roseblade
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