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Thee Oh Sees
Mutilator Defeated At Last Nick Hutchings , May 14th, 2015 08:53

When Thee Oh Sees sink their teeth into a groove they are like a ravenous dog with a juicy bone. 'Lupine Ossuary' is a vampiric tour de force, where the multi layered reverb and riffs shadow dance over repetitive rhythms like Nosferatu trying to creep up on a victim whilst being blown back by a wind machine. This pivotal moment in the band's sixth album in five years and the second since that phantom non-sequitur split. 'Lupine Ossuary' is the spiritual other to 'Lupine Dominus' from their last truly great album Putrifiers II and not just in name.

There's plenty to get the incisors into before that though. Mutilator Defeated At Last starts with a gratifyingly spooky sonic blast. After the paisley whimsy of a band regrouping on last year's Drop, this album is back to the plaid wearing minotaur-slaying monstrousness of Floating Coffins. 'Withered Hand' is both a super-heavy second song and a description of how garage doyen John Dwyer's digits must be after the bone crunching fretwork of the frantic brace of songs at the head of Mutilator.

Dwyer's unmistakably androgynous whine has an almost witch-like quality on 'Poor Queen' and it's then it's onto a Black Oak Arkansas style boogie with 'Turned Out Light'. The beast that is 'Lupine Ossuary' then lurks out of the mystical forest in which Dwyer's band stalks. The driving guitar rhythm is like Sex Pistol Steve Jones' bludgeoning 'Bodies', the drums pummel as only Can could, and the hex of Hendrix makes a riff-some apparition over the top. The effect is murderously medieval and after such an onslaught, it comes as welcome relief to exhale over the burnt out blues of 'Sticky Hulks', coming on like a psych re-working of 'Nights In White Satin'.

Like Yoshimi took on the Pink Robots, Thee Oh Sees take on the mythical Mutilator with a strength that's intensely tensile but undeniably organic. 'Holy Smoke' is a blustery jam, 'Rogue Planet' is a sinewy thrash through the wilderness, and 'Palace Doctor' emerges bleary eyed back to amber dawned reality.

While Dwyer has found his way from the Haight down to LA, he is still making music to lose your mind to, and your way within. Thee Oh Sees have a daunting discography, but much like The Fall they offer an entire and immersive universe in which you may not need any other band, or any other sensory sustenance. Their music is reassuringly recognisable and yet their albums are gratifyingly unpredictable. This is garage rock yes, but not teeth grindingly basic 4-4, it's four to the forest floor, bouncing off the superfuzz pedal and rebounding into space, and from their multifarious albums, Mutilator Defeated At Last is undeniably a star.

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