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Thee Oh Sees: Drop (Album Review)

It’s a little hard to tell – their numerous lineups, incarnations and releases are not easy to keep track of – but this is something like the 12th Oh Sees studio album in eight years. The constant is John Dwyer, San Francisco rock luminary (who recently moved to Los Angeles – perhaps a bit of a ravens-leaving-the-tower moment for SF’s celebrated modern-day psych scene) and apparently inexhaustible human wellspring of weird, lovely noises. The various sides of Thee Oh Sees – the world-beatingly loud’n’fast live garage band; the swirlier, prettier home-taped psych-pop solo project; the synth-kraut-spacerock explorers – are comprehensively represented on Drop, and in songs such as Encrypted Bounce (a sleek, pulsing rocker with a sharp, sour tang), Put Some Reverb On My Brother (a playful psychedelic colour-riot) and Transparent World (a woozy, alien cloud of melodious drones), Dwyer sounds on the creative form of his life. There was talk last year of a major Oh Sees hiatus; but this new album and plenty of live dates this summer would seem to make a lie of such a notion. And amen to that.