THEE OH SEES join Ty Segall at the Hoxton on Wednesday (September 26). See listing. Rating: NNN
Thee Oh Sees have never been easy to pin down. Though they've carved out a signature psychedelic garage sound that's unmistakably their own, the tireless San Francisco rockers have built a career out of exploring it from different angles: mind-bending noise rock on Warm Slime, sunny 60s pop on Castlemania, hard-driving throttle on Carrion Crawler/The Dream. You never know where they'll go next, and they average about two albums a year.
Until now, each album has stuck to one style, an approach that goes out the window on their latest, which tosses in a little bit of everything. Wax Face and Flood's New Light, for instance, explore their crunchy, hooky side, So Nice builds a Velvet Underground-style dirge out of a droning cello, and Lupine Dominus distills a funky Krautrock groove into three and a half minutes. It's all good, but without a solid through line there's nothing to anchor it.
So, no, this isn't the best Oh Sees album, but at least they probably won't wait too long to try again.
Top track: Lupine Dominus