THEE OH SEES Carrion Crawler/The Dream CD/LP

One of the band's biggest assets is their ability to sound human. This isn't an odd choice of word—when plenty of artists record digitally and the details are flawless in every which way, or those on low budgets record to tape but sound like they're three rooms away, Thee Oh Sees manage to make every record sound just cheap enough that the experience of listening feels like being in a room alongside them, the energy of the performance perfectly retained on tape. And this record in particular, initially intended to be split as two EPs and recorded in a single week, is the closest yet that the band has gotten to capturing the energy of their live show—specific emphasis placed on the two title tracks, where John Dwyer's guitar runs off and about as it sees fit, where he and token lady Brigid Dawson hiccup like a pair of Adam Ants, and, for the love of god, Mike Shoun's drums actually sound live.

Each of Thee Oh Sees' phases and records have been wildly different from the last; the records pour forth a couple times a year, and despite the madly prolific output, they've gotten better with each release. The band has evolved like no other group, from a solo project to an acoustic experiment between Dwyer and Patrick Mullins, seeing gradual expansion to the lively quintet it now boasts. And given such, the records have varied as well—while an early OCS effort may have featured distant acoustic guitar and singing saw, and Castlemania, a release mostly by Dwyer put out under the band's name (released five months prior to Carrion Crawler, mind you), was one giant psychedelic cartoon, this current project is rock and roll indulgence, supported by drug-induced or perhaps childlike imagination, heavily sprinkled with the fearlessness and spontaneity of proper punk rock. It's so much greater than “garage rock” and finally displays in full what the band is capable of, which is possibly due to the quickness and urgency of its recording period, and which makes Carrion Crawler their best yet. [In The Red]

-China Bialos

AMAZON

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