Ready to play some D&D with the biggest band of successful weirdos in modern rock? Good. Set your sights on Thee Oh Sees’ latest album, Carrion Crawler/The Dream, and get ready to descend into a maddening underworld of horror-show shadows and filthy fuzz kept in Thee Oh Sees’ custom-made cabinet of garage rock wonders.
Weird through-and-through in a delightful way, Carrion Crawler/The Dream may be the most cohesive, while still crazy, of Thee Oh Sees’ numerous releases. Each track is heavily rooted in a repetitive rhythm that anchors fun, fuzzed-out shredding and endless vocal distortions, providing a solid base for the band to jump from. And Thee Oh Sees leap wild and loud.
Carrion Crawler/The Dream finds bandleader and worshipped hero John Dwyer pretending to sing more often than he actually manages to string lyrics together. Dwyer sinisterly shouts “La, la, la” over rollicking rhythms in the album’s opener, “Carrion Crawler,” and spends much of the other half-title track, “The Dream,” shrieking distorted, mostly wordless high notes, but it’s exactly this loose and lively attitude that makes the record such a good time.
“Wrong Idea” cuts into the elongated “The Dream” with crashing cymbals and tough drums ala The Ramones, but Thee Oh Sees match the punk masters to a disembodied western whistling, turning “Wrong Idea” into punk for pioneers.
“Crack in Your Eye” is every bit as creepy-sexy-awesome as the name implies, with its small semi-female falsettos (half Dwyer, half Brigid Dawson) meeting Dwyer’s cartoon villain/rockabilly frog muttering for an off-kilter, ominous number that’s unendingly enjoyable for its humor and addictive aftertaste.
Tough and thick, Carrion Crawler/The Dream melts one track into another through go-for-broke gut-wrenching guitar and a whirling insanity. Living on the line between madness and excellence, the latest record from Thee Oh Sees finds the band as fresh, wild and absolutely fun as they’ve ever been.