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What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions Thee Oh Sees? Probably their riot-sparking live show, right? Visions of a guitar-chewing, speaker-smothering, tongue-wagging John Dwyer careening across your cranium, chased by a wild-eyed wrecking crew that drives every last hook home like it’s a nail in the coffin of what you thought it meant to make 21st century rock ’n’ roll?
Yeah, that sounds about right. But it misses a more important point—how impossible Thee Oh Sees have been been to pin down since Dwyer launched it in the late ‘90s as a solo break from such sorely missed underground bands as Pink and Brown and Coachwhips. (While Dwyer often records songs on his own, Thee Oh Sees is now a four-piece featuring keyboardist/singer Brigid Dawson, guitarist Petey Dammit, and drummer Mike Shoun)
That restlessness extends to everything from the towering, 13-minute title track of 2010’s Warm Smile LP to the mercurial moods of 2008’s The Master’s Bedroom Is Worth Spending a Night In. And then there’s the Bay Area band’s recent track record, including a scrappy tour split with Total Control, the home-brewed symphonies of Castlemania and the high wire hooks of Carrion Crawler/The Dream, which dropped a second drum set among sunburnt organs, dovetailing guitars and rail-jumping rhythms.
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