John Dwyer continues to spit out releases at a pace that rivals Robert Pollard. If my math is correct, Castlemania is Dwyer’s twelfth full-length, in addition to numerous singles, compilations and EPs, in the last six or seven years. To call John Dwyer prolific is an understatement. What’s even more remarkable is that you’re not likely to find a dud among the bunch. The latest is an ambitious sixteen-track departure from the slightly more straightforward Oh Sees sound that channeled 60s underground garage sounds on records like Master’s Bedroom and Help. While tracks like “Corrupted Coffin” still resemble classic Oh Sees, “Stinking Cloud” is delivered with accompanying strings and lyrics that almost follow a verse-chorus form. In addition, Dwyer uses wind instruments, keyboards and horns throughout Castlemania that help to successfully create a new Oh Sees experience. The album winds down with three tracks that sound like they could be Nico-era Velvet Underground outtakes and not just because of Brigid Dawson’s vocals. The whole thing is a loose affair that borrows from the spirit of San Francisco’s hippie past and combines it with Dwyer’s modern garage flair—creating a party-like atmosphere that you immediately want to join. [In The Red]
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