No Mind/Body Problem Grokking Thee Oh See’s “Putrifiers II”

It actually is kinda hard understanding Thee Oh Sees, whose new album Putrifiers II stimulates all body parts, from the tips of your toes to the furthest cranial hideaways.  How could a band that, just last year, in their epic punk rock masterpiece Carrion Crawler/The Dream, harken to the heyday of “Final Solution” Pere Ubu and give Capsula a run for their pesetas as the band you’d like to pogo to, come back with something so jaw-droppingly boss’n’beautiful as Putrifiers II?  There’s punk rock galore on this album, but saying it’s a punk album is like saying Sgt. Pepper’s is rock’n’roll — there’s rock’n’roll on it, but so much more!   Just when you think you’ve got them pegged, they wriggle out of your mind’s definition and confound you!  And if that’s not the mark of a first-rate rock’n’roll band, we don’t know what is.

On the title track, see, they recycle Captain Beefheart’s “Dropout Boogie,” hit you with the ol’ Pere Ubu/Cap’n soprano sax, and still twang your woogie with something completely new.

“Wax Face” kicks the album off with a Cream meets Pop Levi in Ozzie’s basement mashup that pulls your grin mechanism into near-fatal rictus.   Wax face?  No, it just dissolves like the cover of Ty Segall’s Melted. 

And then they come back with a sax’n’double drum boogie, John Dwyer and Bridget Dawson harmonizing like imminent stars on a soap opera from a parallel universe that is built upon “Nashville,” but only those corners of town where tattoo parlors are punctuated by removal studios for those with tattoo regret.

Then like Pablo Sandoval swinging a bat, they hit you across the face with double cellos while a drummer recruited from a filming of The Last Of The Mohicans patiently taps the tom toms.

And just when your mind has taken all that in and tries to synthesize so much data — SF punk rock band and Ty Segall buds that produce each year, on average, two records of sheer blasting fun, anarchy in the US of A, return in 2012 with a record that stimulates both pedal extremities and the pop brain’s pleasure centers — they come back with “Lupine Dominus” and its Fugazi-meets-Jesus and Mary Chain’s Munki antics, and it all just shuts down, the mind that is.  I give up!  I’ll just lie here and enjoy it!  And what do they do?  The reward us with the gorgeous “Goodnight Baby.”  A song which you can just lie down and enjoy, drool maybe forming at the edge of your mouth.

We’re ready to throw in the towel and just move to SF.  Ty Segall.  Sic Alps.  And now we can’t get Thee Oh Sees off our playlist.

The very intelligent and seeming great guy John Dwyer has explained that he’s not a one-album-per-year person — and even forgiven the lack of promotion various record labels have given their music, chalking up their inattention to the reality that, no sooner will they have put one record out, he’ll be back in the studio putting together a record that is completely different.  Yeah, the stuff great bands are made of.  With Putrifiers II, The Oh Sees are on a double-drum roll and we hope it never ends.

One Response to “No Mind/Body Problem Grokking Thee Oh See’s “Putrifiers II””

  1. […] handle on the prolific San Francisco punk rockers, they released the ambitious commercially viable Putrifiers II.  As we said at the time, “It actually is kinda hard understanding Thee Oh Sees, whose new […]

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