Thee Oh Sees “Floating Coffin”: Best Album Since “Meet The Beatles”? Or Just The Best Thee Oh Sees Record Of The Year So Far?

When a band puts out 197 records in just a few short years, it’s hard for the impecunious fans who matter most to save all their lunch money for the new stuff.  Is the rumor true — okay, I started it — that it was a fan of Thee Oh Sees who first persuaded VCs to pony up the moolah to start Spotify?  The band does come from San Francisco…  Not saying it happened, but it is possible that an Oh Sees fan, realizing they just couldn’t keep up with all the fine punk rock John Dwyer and co. were pumping out, had to devise some way of getting their fix, and so they pitched Sean Parker, or maybe someone else who said, “A million songs ain’t cool.  You know what’s cool?  A billion songs.”

But here’s the thing.  A band that can put out a record faster than Joyce Carol Oates writes books often just puts out the same album, over and over again.  Now an exception to this rule, it’s true, is young Mr. Ty Segall, and funny we should mention Ty since clearly he and Thee Oh Sees are thick as thieves.  But as it is with Ty — who shows almost infinite potential — after seeing how quickly Thee Oh Sees ramped up since just 2011’s Carrion Crawler/The Dream, we may have to come up with a new rule book.  We’re talking hockey stick growth, the flowering of musical genius, and from a decent enough base.  If that album made you think of early Pere Ubu, then think what a leap it was to put out last year’s Tulip Frenzy Top Ten (c) list-maker Putrifiers II, which thundered along at a double-drum clip, saxophone added to the simple guitars-bass-drums, and then took unexpected veers into rockin’ cellos and even glam.  And now we have Floating Coffin, which qualifies not only as the most thrilling punk rock album in an age, but — and we’re not trying to embarrass them, it’s just true — also contains songs that are pretty as peaches and tasty as pie.

Look, Thee Oh Sees will likely always come off on record like a band trying to bottle the sweaty reek of their live set, and make no mistake, Floating Coffin undulates with the bodies in front of the stage, beer spew on party dresses, that 2:00 AM feeling where not only do you realize you can’t get to work the next day, but why should you?  They deliver the epiphany that leads to quitting said job so as to dedicate one’s life to becoming Thee Oh Sees’ roadie, or at least something more productive and meaningful than cubicle life in the Googleplex.  But Floating Coffin does so much more. Just take “Strawberries 1+ 2,” a song that begins like arena rock and ends up like Fripp and Eno.  They may tear up the place, but this is not a bar band.  This is a band that a dozen or so records into their career (we’re serious now) are exploring new territory like lunar captains with a thirst for yonder galaxies.

We thought the bossest pop song of 2012 was Thee Oh Sees’ “Hang A Picture,” which may reveal more about us than it does about them, but the point is — and returning to our initial riff — these guys have confounded the model by which bands that produce new albums every six months just keep playing the same stuff.  You have no idea what Thee Oh Sees are going to come out with next!  A No Wave rock opera.  Speed-metal yodeling.  Eddy Cochran backed by zithers. We are completely serious: this is a band that through sheer dint of trying proves every mother’s maxim that if only little Johnny puts his mind to it, he can do anything.  If little Johnny is John Dwyer, the answer is yes, yes he can.  And you would be well advised to catch up.  Sometimes when a band is so good but has such a head start, you don’t know where to jump in. Floating Coffin is an excellent place to begin.

4 Responses to “Thee Oh Sees “Floating Coffin”: Best Album Since “Meet The Beatles”? Or Just The Best Thee Oh Sees Record Of The Year So Far?”

  1. […] about the rock’n'roll that twangs our woogie.  But earlier in the week, when we gushed about Thee Oh Sees and declared their new album, Floating Coffin, to be somewhere between the best record since the […]

  2. […] a slow music month. That changed when I read the enthusiastic, giddy, ecstatic review over at Tulip Frenzy. Best since the Beatles? I wouldn’t say that, but really freaking good? Yup, that […]

  3. […] of Thee Oh Sees, who is a one-man carnival of fine rock’n'roll.  We love Thee Oh Sees, but never more than when Floating Coffin came out, when we were forced to ask if it was the best album since Meet The Beatles.  As we shall, see, […]

  4. […] that red-hot rhythm section of Petey Dammit! and Mike Shoun — the cohorts who helped propel Floating Coffin into the coveted #2 spot on the 2013 Tulip Frenzy Top 10 List (c) — this is a real Thee Oh […]

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