If Thee Oh Sees are a band that specialise in one thing then it’s knowing how to pack a punch! Three years after confirming they were entering “a hiatus” the prolific Californian’s have instead released their 17th LP (albeit made under various guises), and it certainly doesn’t disappoint in the noise stakes. A Weird Exits follows up last year’s excellent Mutilator Defeated At Last, and although it may not be quite as alluring as last year’s success, it’s a record that’s beating its predecessor hands down for ruthless energy and sheer bloodymindedness.
In an appreciable return to their belligerent best, Thee Oh Sees unashamedly crank up the volume and distortion to something more akin to their famed live shows. The record marks frontman John Dwyer’s first endeavour with the new double-drummer combo of Ryan Moutinho and Dan Rincon and bassist Tim Hellman, a collaboration that produces audibly thumping results.
From the fuzzy riffs of all-conquering garage metal anthems ‘Ticklish Warrior’, ‘Plastic Plant’ and ‘Gelatinous Cube’, to the hazy stoner psychdelia of ‘Jammed Entrance’, to the shadowy, almost mythical atmospherics of ‘Crawl Out From the Fall Out’, the band pull no punches in their wrecking-ball delivery. The production too, follows suit, creating a palpably grungey ambience comparable to the boxed-in acoustics of a dingy, underground stage.
There is something of an energy lapse in the mid-point with the album’s analogous style beginning to catch up with itself but this is a small price to pay for 8 tracks and 40 minutes of brilliantly relentless cacophony. Closing track ‘The Axis’, serves as an appropriate swan song, its gnarled melodiousness and soused sentimentality giving the impression of a set final encore. A brief but boisterous experience.