The sweetest of all possible putrifiers.
In the Red, 2012
It might just be the worst kept secret on the planet that the staff here at Earbuddy have a semi-collective boner for the Bay Area Garage/Psych/Pop scene. Both Mikal Cronin and Ty Segall’s albums from last year (Mikal Cronin and Segall’s Goodbye Bread) wound up on the site’s year end top 50. One SF act, some would say THE one SF psych-pop act, Thee Oh Sees didn’t quite make the cut, despite two full-length albums AND a tour LP to boot. 2012 is going to be a different story though, as Putrifiers II is a rollicking, rocking good time, which has dialed back the band’s lupine instincts just enough to make it Thee Oh Sees’ most accessible record to date.
Head Oh See John Dwyer has been happily toiling at low-brow experimentalism for more than a decade with various acts, including The Coachwhips, Swords and Sandals, and Yikes, who, along with Thee Oh Sees, brought us Putrifiers I. Thee Oh Sees have, since their out-the-gate LP, 2006’s Cool Death of the Island Raiders specialized in barely sane garage rock, and were known primarily for their live shows, which subsequent recorded materials never quite lived up to. Dwyer and company have, as has like-minded understudy, Segall, never shied away from recording. The band has a Bob Pollard-like output in the subsequent seven odd years, releasing 7 other albums, and various EPs and singles. On Putrifiers II, an album whose syrupy, melodic songs belie the nauseating title, Dwyer and his crew, which now includes a second drummer, have made a mini-masterpiece of slow-dance psychedelica, unwound krautrock, and straight up rockers, with just enough weirdness to keep in mind that this is mos’ def’ a Thee Oh Sees record.
Dwyer annihilates any pretense that Putrifiers II is a pure pop record, right out of the gate on album opener “Wax Face”, with his Devo-esque vocals, and pounding guitar assault, but then barrels head first into the beatific on the next, “Hang a Picture”. Its heavy but smooth guitar drone combines with Mamas and Papas vocals, to pretty but slightly ominous effect. If any track here is a true revelation, it would be Byrds meets Kinks idyll “Goodnight Baby”. As on the rest of the album, Dwyer’s vocals, while sweet, are still unsettling enough to keep the listener on edge, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Purchase: Thee Oh Sees – Putrifiers II