What must it be like to make a record every week? Well John Dwyer is trying to find out with his various Thee Oh Sees, Oh Sees and OCS records simultaneously causing panic within our filing system. This latest release sees him reunite with vocal foil Brigid Dawson creating a hushed affair at odds with his recent energetic garage rock. Back to the roots. Quiet and sumptuous.
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Full disclosure: I don't really like Thee Oh Sees. I've heard they are a brilliant live band but their records hurt my ears and are too garagey and rocking and full of guitar tomfoolery for me to enjoy on a regular basis. So I'm probably not best placed to know how to fit this into their ever expanding catalogue of music that seems to increasingly be subject to Billy Childish style name tweaks.
This latest release is credited to another slightly different moniker and is a series of quiet and contemplative new tracks written with former Thee Oh Sees singer and keyboardist Brigid Dawson. It's a quiet and sumptuous affair with orchestration and arrangements far away from Thee Oh Sees garage blast. Guitar twiddling sits mercifully behind the main cascade of instruments and Dawson's voice is used effectively in subduing Dyer's normal squark. There are elements of Yo La Tengo in the opening title track with it's lightly strummed guitars and brushed drumming and this sets the scene for an album of chamber pop which utilises a lot of the influences from the '60s that usually sit outside of Thee Oh Sees usually sphere. The Zombies, the Left Banke and The United States of America are all audible throughout and tracks such as 'On & On Corridor' have that jazzy, gallic feel that makes the music of the likes of Stereolab so enjoyable.
An lovely album of charming compositions, subtly orchestrated with hushed thoughtful lyrics. If there's a Thee Oh Sees album for everyone in their sprawling back catalogue then this is mine. Hopefully those who like the rackety stuff can also settle down and enjoy this. Isn't it nice to be quiet for awhile?
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