Whatever you want to call them, at present they prefer Thee Oh Sees, but that's really subject to change at any moment (they've been The Ohsees, OCS, Orange County Sound and Orinoka Crash Suite in the past), one thing you have to appreciate about the San Francisco band is the sheer volume of their work. They produce the kind of hyperactive, reverb-bleeding garage rock that you want to listen to turned all the way up to 11. And they produce a lot of it. Warm Slime, out Tuesday, May 11, 2010, is the band's eleventh full-length album (that number doesn't include an additional six EPs and seven 7-inches).
With that much music to their name, Thee Oh Sees have certainly earned the right to call themselves whatever they want. The band started life as an experimental outlet for lead singer John Dwyer, who has fronted a number of other projects, including Pink and Brown and the Coachwhips, and it continues to push itself to occupy different musical spaces. The band has taken a variety of forms over the years, but it currently consists of four members -- Dwyer, who plays guitar and provides the majority of the (largely unintelligible) vocals, Brigid Dawson, who contributes supporting vocals and plays the keyboard, Petey Dammit on guitar, and Mike Shoun on drums.
Like the band itself, their eleventh studio-album is something of a shape-shifter. It opens with a title track that clocks in at an impressive thirteen minutes and thirty seconds. "Warm Slime" starts with a whistle, before descending with a crash into two buzzy guitar-driven minutes, punctured at intervals with a howling refrain. Around minute three it begins to slow, elements gradually fading into the background until there is only a whispery chant to a soft tapping. The song picks up again, slows again, picks up again, slows it down once more -- all the while treating the listener to a rollicking, detail-filled aural experience.
When the first track comes to a close, you might start to wonder what the band could still have up its sleeve. Not to worry, Warm Slime has a few other treats in store -- the clangy, jangly delight "I Was Denied;" the lovely, howly, military-march "Everything Went Black;" and "Castiatic Tackle," a surf-rock piece that recalls The Surfari's 1962 class "Wipe Out," just in time for summer.
Warm Slime is out May 11. For tour-dates and more information visit Thee Oh Sees on Myspace.