Album Review: Thee Oh Sees—“A Weird Exits”

By Kalina Nedelcheva, Feature Photo via Thee Oh Sees

A Weird Exits is divergent, yet with strong notes of familiarity. Compared to albums like Drop (2014) and Help (2009), it is a more lethargic compilation inviting you to take a trip on the flip side. Albeit, the universal vibe of psychedelic garage-punk is preserved, and the Thee Oh Sees grant their record with a certain experimental rock quality— reminiscent of an alien invasion. 

tn-thee-oh-sees-a-weird-exits

A Weird Exits album cover

“Dead Man’s Gun” is the gateway to this otherworldly experience, begging you to enter with its rhythmic sound and anticipating chants that are often broken by brief erratic vocal explosions and the occasional signature Oh Sees solo screech. Once you’ve entered the “Oh-niverse,” John Dwyer takes you on a speculative fuzz scale progression, easing into the theme of the album. The introduction of Ryan Moutinho (drums) and Dan Rinco (drums) into the new band dynamic is recognized mainly through the instrumental melodies and juxtaposition of rhythm. Each song possesses a somewhat predictable backbone that is layered by volatile riffs, space-echo and occasional outbursts of hysteria. “Jammed Entrance” and “Crawl Out From The Fall Out “take a step back from the psychotic fast paced mood and in a way serve as distorted manifestos of the new world. While the former is a compilation of eerily drug-infused funk, where the vocals have been abandoned and replaced by a keyboard simulation of morse code, the later forces you to fall into a deep trance, guided by Dwyer. “Crawl Out From The Fall Out” is a curious track where the voice is truly treated like an instrument, subduing to a dreamy melody, while John strums the guitar like a cello.

While the beginning of the album put the pedal to break-neck low-fi, the acceleration starts to diminish towards the end to a last song that is a somewhat prolific proclamation with steady synth chords and background drums. In the last few minutes of the trip, “A Weird Exits,” we are awaken from our half-conscious dream into a seizure by a final screeching guitar solo, filled with brief half second breaks, that soon extend into undecipherable nothingness. 

Not only the warped layers of the songs, but also the album artwork signifies the multiple dimensions of A Weird Exits. Each song is a buzzing banter of unconceivable life forms, occupying John Dwyer’s mind. It’s not a story that is told through this album, but rather characters are developed into a never ending spatiality of psychedelia.

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