They’re their own mythic beasts.
In the beginning, there was Thee Oh Sees. They were a band refining their own take on garage punk. Then they mastered it.
As Oh Sees they’re taking it to its outer limits. And like the heavy metallers, jazz fusionists and prog rockers of yore realised when they too stretched rock’s form, these sounds ring out like something more than just everyday life. They're legendary, mythic. So naturally, when you have that instrumental side of things down pat there’s little you can do to avoid accompanying such sounds with lyrics of sword, sorcery, sieges, lieges and epic fantasy.
To feel that way? It’s natural. Just common sense.
‘Sentient Oona’ introduces this story’s villain, an all-seeing and ever present evil. Everything up until ‘Moon Bog’ seems to chronicle its devastation. ‘Beat Quest’ sees the foe vanquished but not before the heroic sacrifice which allows the narrator to solemnly guide you to the conclusion of this journey’s tale. Or perhaps there’s a deeper meaning, but just know that ‘Enrique El Cobrador’, ‘Overthrown’ and ‘C’ are the stone-cold rockers.
Smote may even bust out some proggier chops than Orc. Yet even if it’s more hypnotic and complex than Orc or anything before it Smote carries itself with the same attitude. It’s fun.
Where do the Oh Sees (if they’re not due for another name mutation) go next? Historically punk answered prog, but this is where this outfit started off so short of a turn toward back-to-basics or further flights of fantasy it’s a little too mysterious to divine. Could they go full Rick Wakeman’s The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table full symphony in tow or perhaps seek some other equally lofty of Holy Grails?
But really, it’s never as much about The What with this group as much as how they go about it. This record’s got energy. It’s alive, its own mythic beast. Animated – summoned – and then its ruin smote in a manner that few if any can escape. All within the space of 11 tracks.
Words by Riley Fitzgerald