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

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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.

Baikonour
May 14, 2015 11:25am

Great album by one of the best band around at the moment. There's a much obvious Can influence in this album than ever before. Though I don't share your opinion on Drop as it's one of my favorite. For all the Dwyer's fan out there, the Coachwhips remaster of Bangers VS Fuckers is worth a listen

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May 14, 2015 12:13pm

In reply to Baikonour:

No talent song less fucks with release their 20th generic album quietus simp sho got it got free yet never bought any volume of Back From The Grave is throbbing-- sweet!! Have you heard the new Jon Spencer i hear he's a real blues monster like a butch Patto in denim

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May 14, 2015 12:17pm

Do Coochwops sound like the Mummies I only listened to EBM for years thus Americcn reek stuff is crazy ain't it Nick feral intesity on wax mustache ride didn't the Thames

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Sean K
May 14, 2015 1:02pm

In reply to :

Song less?? Man, I sure pity your ear/brain interface, not to mention your syntactical grasp of the english language... and the Can (Malcolm Mooney era) influence has always been there, it's just a little more pronounced this time. Poor Queen and Palace Doctor all the way for me!

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Fred Holderin
May 14, 2015 3:43pm

In reply to Sean K:

Talentless, songless, 35 albums, all epigones of others styles, bar band genre rock for retards, kids and Limeys who never know how to rock in the first place, thus their indulgence of utter dogshit like Wooden Shjips... yeah, remember them? How many album did peak Arthur Lee make? And Dwyer is how many times better? Bevis Frond-- who really was a talent-- is like Hendrix x Hawkwind x Viv Stanshall compared to this clown. I know Doran can't make things any MORE austere at Quietus but goddamn, some quality control among the volunteer "listening artists"-- please? Amon Duul 2's worst day beats this turd's life, "great" tattoos tho'.

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May 14, 2015 3:55pm

In reply to Fred Holderin:

Fred Holderin a grudge more like!

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Edith
May 14, 2015 4:01pm

Are anyone really wasting time on this hollowman horseshit? Hey Nicky, you know when Dwyer was at his "best"? When he was a chops-less Incredible String Band, soul-less Sebadoh imitator. Or did you skip that "phase"? A wise man if so but you're deluding noone by pretending this is any better or has ANY reason to exist.

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Cerpin Taxt
May 14, 2015 7:06pm

Judging by the comments, Dwyer must have fucked some of your mothers. The album is good. That's all that matters to me.

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BWBWBWB
May 14, 2015 8:17pm

Pretty hilarious how worked up you guys get over a good review of an OK record by a decent band. Get a grip. Who fucking cares?

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May 15, 2015 8:33am

In reply to Fred Holderin:

Every rock records is self referential to some degree since at least 1990. this is a fact and if you cannot live with it then it's time for you to look somewhere else for your cultural entertainment.
If you knew your shit you would know that Amon Duul 2 had plenty 'worst days' after the last great hooray that was Vive La Trance. This is why Daniel and Renate went on to do great things with their mate Florian in Munich..Anyway I digress. Please continue to get publicly angry on the internet over record reviews.

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Pookah Killkenny
May 15, 2015 2:49pm

From the land that once brought us Syd Barrett and Bam-Caruso compilations etc, this is what you settle for? I can't think of a better argument for "austerity" than simps wasting any time or money on this garbage but maybe I've "missed the point" and it's all about "recycling"? Dudley Moore, Dik Mik and Dan Treacy all died in vain, alas.

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Chris
May 15, 2015 2:55pm

"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'"

Now I know the author is taking the piss :)

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Sean K
May 15, 2015 4:18pm

In reply to Fred Holderin:

I must say, I'm quite surprised at the hate out there for this band (though it only looks like it's from one or two people). Each to their own at the end of the day I guess. But the suggestion that John Doran exercise some 'quality control' over this site really is quite stunningly arrogant. This is a pop culture website and covers all kinds of bands/film makers and writers, not all of which I'm into myself.

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Tenement Lady
May 15, 2015 9:13pm

More like defecated? As live entertainment, fine, whatever but when we live in an era when nearly all music from all eras is available for listening... Why in the name or earth, air, fire or water would anyone settle for this absolute nullity? Dywer is completely bankrupt as a songwriter-- compare to any four, five, six dozen of his forebears in garage rock, psyche rock, psyche pop etc. How many chances does a turd get at immortality and what the hell has Nick Hutchings listened to in his life he can extol such "indie" bar-band garbage? I'm all for ENTHUSIASM but goddamn, mate!

The funny thing, as is often the case, is that certain Limeys can act all incredulous. Don't they, like, rock, man? Exactly. In America, where functional rock bands grow like dingleberries on Hutchings' Taint, Dwyer has been recognized as a clown for years, an epigone's epigone without even a shred of actual personality (tattoos don't count), let alone originiality of any kind.

Of course simps like Sic Alps and Ty Segall too. Tenement Lady does not.

Nor does she much like Mott but they were at least smart enough to cover Dion who, granted, isn't 1/100th the singer or songwriter that Dwyer is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_E2QgzBHyk&spfreload=10

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Sean K
May 15, 2015 11:24pm

In reply to Tenement Lady:

I was under the impression that in America, a large proportion of the population 'recognise' dinosaur fossils as a ploy by God to test faith. Is this another belief us 'Limeys' should seek to emulate?

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BWBWBWB
May 17, 2015 6:08pm

In reply to Tenement Lady:

Your assertion that, "In America, where functional rock bands grow like dingleberries on Hutchings' Taint, Dwyer has been recognized as a clown for years, an epigone's epigone without even a shred of actual personality (tattoos don't count), let alone originality of any kind," is absurd. Dwyer is pretty much beloved in the States. Almost all of his records are met with heaps of critical praise, his shows sell out all across the country, his records sell out insanely fast. Castle Face's US shop sold out of Mutilator in like a day. I'm not really a fan of the guy, but holy shit is that assertion off base. I am always in the minority when I'm like, "Eh, Dwyer, whatever."

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ad hominem
May 18, 2015 9:29am

the grammar in this comment feed is really poor.

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DS
May 19, 2015 9:15pm

Remember when Drowned In Sound removed the comments section from their reviews and people were all 'this is terrible'; 'you don't know what you're doing'; you're stifling a lot of useful debate' etc? People aren't saying that any more.

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Drew
May 20, 2015 10:52pm

Good Lord, the comments here. If my eyes rolled any harder they'd need an operation to get them facing forward again.

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Jamzik
Jun 2, 2015 12:33pm

Well-written review of an excellent record. Nailed it when he said: "Their music is reassuringly recognisable and yet their albums are gratifyingly unpredictable."

Discography not that daunting though. I would say any rock fan worth their salt could pick up an Oh Sees record and find it pretty accessible yet satisfying and visceral.

I just hope they come back to Ireland sometime soon. The Floating Coffin tour show in Dublin was something else. Exhilarating.

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Thomas P
Jun 8, 2015 4:25pm

Accurate review for an enjoyable record. What's all the fuss about?!

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Nick G.
Jun 9, 2015 7:37am

Humanity is really screwed when people feel the need to be so downright NASTY on comment threads. Hey but its easy isn't it?
Meanwhile Thee Oh Sees continue to tear it up like a force of nature. Thank god for 'em.

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bzfgt
Oct 25, 2016 9:42pm

This album KICKS ASS.

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