July 29, 2009

Thee Oh Sees

San Francisco, CA
Produced mixed and recorded by Christopher “Oats” Woodhouse at The Hangar in Sacramento, CA

If you were to use Jim DeRogatis’ overview of psychedelic music, Turn On Your Mind, as a template for you band, you’d probably sound like Thee Oh Sees. This band creates music that is based on classic, late-1960s garage-psych, but incorporates characteristics of the other great psychedelic movement, shoegaze.

Help opens with an absolute killer of a driving, thundering song called “Enemy Destruct.” The song rushes by in a quick three and a half minutes, with the rhythm section driving the song along like it’s late for a date. John Dwyer and Petey Dammit, Thee Oh Sees guitarists, get the most borderline out-of-control tones of any guitarist this side of Neil Young, and on “Enemy Destruct,” one plays a filthy, filthy wah-wah solo that sends the song into outer space. On the very next track there is a solo that sounds like “Eight Miles High” on acid. The vocals are soaked in echo, furthering the trippy ambiance.

Help is loaded with late 1960s references, lots of tambourine, 12-string guitar, a flute jam on “Meat Step Lively” and a song called “Rainbow.” With all of that thrown in, they also add washes of sound, tremolos, vibrato and rhythms that recall the more tom-tom-based tribal-ish beats of Julian Cope or My Bloody Valentine. You can hear certain similarities between them and other Bay Area volume dealers Howlin’ Rain and Comets on Fire; mainly they love big guitar freak-outs. Nothing wrong with that. (In The Red Records)
-Warren McQuiston


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