At this point in their career, nobody’s gonna tell Oh Sees not to be free. The band’s entering their fifteenth year, give or take (if you count the OCS material), and Dwyer and his consortium have been consistently building psychedelic pyres only to torch them each season. Not a band can yowl through an Echoplex without the “Oh Sees Sense” going off these days, yet somehow the band still manages to push their sound further from those initial seeds of garage with each record. This time the band delves further and deeper into the waters of prog than they ever have previously. Sure, there’s always been a touch of the exploratory crawl and plenty of psychedelic jetsom, but this time the band’s cradling their jams in a fog of organ ripple ripped right from Greg Lake’s cutting bin. They’re tossing in a space ooze that’s sliced clean out of the Miles/Ra/Cherry vein, letting drops of scattered noise sluice through the cracks of their shredded sensibilities.
Over the last few albums the band has embraced longer runtimes, but here they close out both LPs with crushers that push in excess of 14 and 20-minutes respectively. They don’t waste the space, either. Both tracks push Oh Sees out of their panicked pacings, layering in downtempo modes of Gong and Amon Düül II between the flashes of freaked-out guitar, punk sputter, and motorik pounce. It is, admittedly, a lot of album. The full runtime clocks in around an hour twenty, so this is more of an undertaking than a light listen, but Oh Sees embrace the journey, pushing the listener through chapters and changes – a prog mindset without necessarily ascribing an overarching theme. Sometimes the harder hitters pull away from the squirrelled weirdness. I’m always going to cue up a track that squirms or seethes like “Together Tomorrow,” or “Scutum & Scorpius” over the frantic fangs of “Heart Worm” but they make it all stitch together without missing a seam. Overall, another set of cavernous crawlers from Dwyer and co. that cement their status among the top-tier psychedelic pantheon.
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