Thee Oh Sees - An Odd Entrances
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Thee Oh Sees' third album of 2016, An Odd Entrances, is a companion to their first album of the year, A Weird Exits, recorded at the same sessions but set aside for later use. (A live album was sandwiched in between.) The six tracks expand on the sonic adventurism present on A Weird Exits, going farther out on the free-form instrumental jams and farther in on the introspective pastoral ballads. The album-opening "You Will Find It Here" takes full advantage of the band's duel drummer lineup, beginning the song with cascading toms and cymbals before settling into a steadily driving heavy rock jam that features Dwyer's trademark guitar sound, an organ riff that Jon Lord would be proud of, and some almost-Gregorian chanting. The other two long tracks on the album take off in different directions, with the synth-led, flute solo-dominated "Jammed Exit" heading for inner space, and the album-closing "Nervous Tech (Nah John)" drifting like a ship lost at sea, with Dwyer's blown-out soloing sending out frantic distress calls. "Unwrap the Fiend, Pt. 1" also gives Dwyer's guitar heroics some room to roam, and his double-tracked harmony leads have an early Eno-ish feel, only dragged through the dirt instead of shiny and pristine. The remaining two songs dig deeper into the more melodic, almost relaxed psych-folk territory where the band has made subtle inroads over the last few records. The shimmering Mellotron, repetitive guitar figure, and elfish vocals of "The Poem" are like Donovan on a bum trip, and the jangling, almost jazzy "At the End, On the Stairs" sounds like the Monkees at their weirdest. Both these songs, and the sonic experiments that surround them, boast of just how impressively good Dwyer and Thee Oh Sees were in 2016. Packed full of confident exploration, sonic wizardry, expert guitar manipulation, and tight songcraft, this album of "leftovers" is as good as most of their contemporaries' best work.