Album Review: Oh Sees – Orc
Review by Ryan Hartman
Oh Sees – Orc
John Dwyer and company follow up last year’s pair of excellent releases (A Weird Exits and the sister album/EP An Odd Entrances) by dropping the “Thee” from their name and delivering a proggy powerhouse of an album. Orc shows the crew harnessing the power behind those last releases but pairing that intensity with more memorable riffs and songs. The first track “The Static God” is a worthy addition to the canon of Oh Sees album openers (featuring tracks like “Web” and the live staple “I Come From the Mountain”). It begins with some of Dwyer’s classic guitar squeals and never loses momentum as riffs flow in-and-out over thundering double drums and Dwyer switches between a forceful whisper and haunting falsetto. “Nite Expo” is another standout track that begins with a synthy rush and transitions into a series of several guitar riffs, all of which are surprisingly infectious and nuanced (the way the bass harmonizes with the guitar line in the softer section of the song has quickly become one of my favorite moments of (Thee) Oh Sees’ catalog. One of the reasons I find this record so compelling is the strength of John Dwyer’s vocal performances throughout. “Animated Violence” is a perfect example of this, as he shouts menacingly over a doomy riff with a potency that is truly attention-grabbing. Also notable is the pleasing degree of experimentation on Orc’s second half. The instrumental number “Cooling Tower” is an interesting track with it’s synthy detachment and reserved riffage, reminding me a lot of the Dwyer side project Damaged Bug. Overall, I believe this is one of the best Oh Sees albums ever and may be the peak of their current iteration.
RIYL: Ty Segall, Can, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard