Hiatus schmiatus. Just last December, Thee Oh Sees’ John Dwyer announced that the band would be taking some time off. But not five months later, the band (with a refreshed personnel line-up) dropped the aptly named Drop LP in time for Record Store Day 2014. Umm…okay?? There’s something about these garage rockers from San Francisco–they can’t help but put out multiple albums per year sometimes, and they’re usually pretty good albums at that.
Drop starts out with a slowly building, creepy but quiet little synth line that momentarily had me concerned that the band had shifted to a more ambient musical outlook since returning from their “hiatus”. But fear not! A monster, psychedelic riff is dropped at about the 40 second mark, and Dwyer’s signature high vocals follow soon after. Full-on garage psychedelia ensues. Phew!
The first two tracks (“Penetrating Eye” and “Encrypted Bounce”) are both heady psych-rockers that start the album off with a bang before mellowing out a tad for a few songs. The relentless pace picks back up again towards the end of the album with the ear-wormy hooks of “Camera”.
Dwyer redefines what it means to be a vocalist: sometimes he sings discernible lyrics, but other times his voice is an instrument, or an animal, or a ghost– anything that produces sound in a musical way. As you listen to each song for the first time, you never really know what you’re in for, and it’s that thrill that makes listening to Thee Oh Sees so much fun.
Drop is a worthy follow-up to the rest of the band’s massive catalog, but is that really a surprise? If there’s one thing this band does well, it’s releasing tons of quality material in rapid-fire succession, making you wonder why other bands sometimes spend years between records, only to turn out a finished product that isn’t half as sharp as something Thee Oh Sees would release.
Listen to the track “Drop” below and grab the album from your fave local record store, as the album’s label, Castle Face, is sold out.