Osees - Protean Threat

Osees - Protean Threat



Castle Face Records

LP | CD | DL

Out 18 September 2020

Louder Than War Bomb Rating 4.5



Album 23 for California psych-garage mastermind John Dwyer sees his band twisting evermore, dropping all articles and coming back together as Osees.

There are those bands that plough a straight and narrow path, ever finessing and perfecting what they do, those that take dramatic left turns to come out with something totally unexpected, and then there are those that twist ever so slightly more with every release, a ten-degree turn further into insanity, never coming full circle and spinning out as though in a Fibonacci vortex. The latter is exactly where we find Osees (yes, the once Thee Oh Sees, The Ohsees, Oh Sees, Orange County Sound, OCS). As we now know, every turn from John Dwyer and co needs a slight re-monikering to go with it. Exhausting as his output may sometimes feel to keep up with, his consistency is practically flawless, and that’s on show once again on Protean Threat.

Whether they’re sounding like Wire being dragged through a meat grinder by a manic Captain Beefheart as on Dreary Nonsense or dropping in soulful bass grooves through stuttering drums on If I Had My Way, what’s clear is the band don’t want you to know what’s coming next. Therein lies the charm. Terminal Jape, a standout track, is a pummelling psych metal dirge that shreds at your face, but they come straight out of it and into the wah-drenched whirling space-rock insanity of Wing Run, an instrumental that should be soundtracking an acid trip rerun of Tomorrow’s World. Said The Shovel is like Hot Chip on barbituates as the lights go down and the paranoia comes out, while there’s definite Krautrock influence in songs like Upbeat Ritual.

Album closer, Persuaders Up!, is a perfect distillation of the trajectory that Dwyer and his cohorts have taken over the course of their so-far 23 album run. It sounds nothing like they have ever done, yet, at the same time, like something that only they could do. It’s those oxymoronical twists and turns that make Osees a delight to hear from every time as they power through their blend of scuzzy garage psych-punk and throw everything possible at you, just to keep you on your toes.

Listen to Dreary Nonsense below:

Follow Osees on their website , Facebook, and Twitter.


All words by Nathan Whittle. Find his Louder Than War archive here.

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Nathan has been writing for Louder Than War since 2012. Before that, he wrote for manchestermusic.co.uk. Now living in Spain, he also writes for the Spanish magazine Ruta 66.


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