thu 23/05/2024

Album: OSEES - Intercepted Message | reviews, news & interviews

Album: OSEES - Intercepted Message

Album: OSEES - Intercepted Message

Caveman synth-rock with hidden sophistication but primal power

'It’s music to fling yourself around and get loose to'

On the face of it, this is an extremely simple record. It is big, stomping, party-monster neanderthal synth-rock.

There’s no new sounds here: the structures are classic garage punk, the synthesisers’ growl and squeal sounds like some jerry-rigged setup from the 1970s, and the double drum kits and John Dwyer’s growls and yelps are downright primal. Aside from the equally retro-sounding big synth pop ballad finale “Always at Night”, it’s music to fling yourself around and get loose to, and in a sense that’s all you need to know. 

But the more you live with it, the more complex and perplexing it gets. After all, OSEES – formerly Orinoka Crash Suite, OCS, Orange County Sound, The Ohsees, The Oh Sees, Thee Oh Sees, Oh Sees – have been around for quarter of a century, initially as a solo project for Dwyer then as a band, and have covered many bases of more or less experimental rock in that time. This is not just banged out, and indeed there is real virtuosity to the jaggeddy unison rhythms, something almost proggy, certainly Beefheart-y in there. 

And though it may feel very familiar indeed, you’ll start asking yourself quite where you’ve heard it before. There are all kinds of echoes of more or less obscure acts: of Standells, Troggs, Psychdelic Furs, DEVO, Mudhoney, John Spencer Blues Explosion, Add N To (X), OP:L Bastards, Hives, Dirtbombs (particularly their Party Store album of garage rock guitar covers of Detroit techno standards). But somehow it’s not specific parts that sound like specific things. More, it sounds like all of these and none, all at once, all the time. 

Maybe that’s because it’s less taking influences, than tapping into some fundamental wellspring of weird, raw, groove? It certainly feels that way when you whack it up loud: this hits more like a chemical effect than a cultural one – even “Always at Night”, which surges like a nostalgia rush of teen movie hormones in a way that Stranger Things occasionally managed, but deeper and… stranger. In an age where there is so much angst about everything having been done before, this album is a glorious reminder that IT DOESN’T MATTER AT ALL. If you’re committed enough to the feeling you’re pursuing, some things never age.


Listen to "Goon":

And though it may feel very familiar indeed, you’ll start asking yourself quite where you’ve heard it before


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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