Fourteen albums in for a twelve year old band, Thee Oh Sees is that psych-rock garage band everyone wishes they started in high school and continued with for twelve years. Members have come and gone, and styles have changed, but with Mutilator Defeated At Last, Thee Oh Sees seem like they’ve really hit their groove and controlled their sound.
In what Consequence of Sound’s Collin Brennan would describe as, “drinks jet fuel for breakfast,” John Dwyer, Thee Oh Sees frontman & songwriter/guitarist, has described the method of the band as, “we just do what we want to do.” Putting out one album every year since the band’s inception, plus with 2011 seeing the release of two records, there’s definitely no shortage of Thee Oh Sees music, as the band seems to do what they want to do a lot.
For what Mutilator Defeated At Last lacks in strong vocal choruses and lyricism, it’s strong in sound design and guitar progressions. One thing singer/songwriter John Dwyer is known for is his sound design and “world building” in-a-sense when it comes to album sound crafting. In what is kind of like witchcraft, Dwyer is a sorcerer who invites you into his musical world with album opener “Web,” where he then goes into lyrics and guitar riffs full of his thoughts; dread and confusion. Where “Turned Out Light,” seems like the most fun and “happy?” Thee Oh Sees has ever been, Dwyer is usually more chaotic and introspectively dark, which funnels through the rest of the record.
While I wish that Thee Oh Sees could better incorporate vocals and strong memorable choruses into their albums, Mutilator Defeated At Last is my favorite one of their releases thus far, and a strong showing of what could be improved on their record next year, provided they keep up their “it’s a new year it’s a new album,” plan of music making.
Listen via Apple Music.