Thee Oh Sees - A Weird Exits 12 inch
Hot on the heels of a live album that captured them in all their sweaty glory, thee ever-prolific Oh Sees returned in mid-2016 with their 16th album, Weird Exits. As on 2015's Mutilator Defeated at Last, the band's leader/guitarist John Dwyer's incredibly powerful and blown-out guitar sound and ragged howl of a voice lead the way, with bassist Tim Hellman and dual drummers Ryan Moutinho and Dan Rincon from the group's live incarnation chasing valiantly behind in his wake. Dwyer's guitar sound throughout the album is massive, sure to thrill lovers of tones that melt faces and peel paint. Whether paired with galloping rhythms, like on the opening "Dead Man's Gun," tied to battering midtempo sludge fests, like on the merciless "Ticklish Warrior" or holding on for dear life as the band shoots out of gravity on their way to a collision course with the sun on "Gelatinous Cube," his sound and playing are inspirational. He truly holds nothing back on the guitar-heavy tracks that make up most of the album and show the band playing with the same amount of laser-sharp focus and dynamic tension that they did on Mutilator. That's about half the album, the rest is something a little different. Using the dual drummers to their fullest, Dwyer takes the opportunity to stretch out and jam. The synth-twiddling, elongated, Krautrock-leaning "Jammed Entrance" and the slow rolling "Unwrap the Fiend, Pt. 2" have some nice subtle playing, complementary drum fills, and almost restrained guitar playing. The two tracks that end the album go even further away from the noise blasts that kick things off. "Crawl Out from the Fall Out" features droning cellos, spooky synths, shards of outer space guitar, and a tempo best suited for staring dazedly into the middle distance as candles burn down to a pool of hot wax. Add in Dwyer's menacing near-whispered vocals and it's a slow burn psych jam worthy of lasting the almost-eight-minutes it takes for it to fully unwind. "The Axis" charts a similar course, but relies more on churchy organs, adds in vocals by former Oh Sees member Brigid Dawson, and ends in a tape-shredding display of guitar insanity that sounds like Dwyer's using the amp Neil Young broke on "Like a Hurricane," then breaking it even more definitively. It's an impressive feat of guitar destruction and caps off another brilliant Oh Sees album in fine style. With Mutilator, and now this album, the band is firing on all cylinders and then some, making psych-prog-metal-punk jams for the ages.
- Tim Sendra, Allmusic.com