I’ll admit that it’s been hard to keep up with all of the releases of John Dwyer’s Osees (also known as Thee Oh Sees, Oh Sees, and about a million other combinations of the words “Oh” and “Sees,” project and I kind of dropped off when they went completely psycho with the constant releases and sounds from 2016 onward. They were already a prolific band so why do the King Gizzard Thing by releasing a couple of half-baked records?
As I’m sure with most fans, I jumped onto Osees sound with 2011’s Carrion Crawler/The Dream, discovering the wild label Caste Face Records in the process, but I personally lost interest when they went for a more prog rock-oriented sound on albums like Orc, A Weird Exits, An Odd Entrances, etc. The stuff I’m personally looking for from this band is dirty garage psych with wild punk guitar and vocal hooks that I don’t have to think about. The kind of primal music that makes you envision throwing your nemesis through a wall.
On their latest release, A Foul Form, Dwyer must have tapped into my sub-reptilian brain. This album is dumb, heavy scum punk to its core and makes me nostalgic for the teenage skate/pool and house parties that ended with broken walls, cigarette carpet burns, and the odd shutdown from the police.
It’s an homage to the days of Black Flag, Wire, and Crass but also doesn’t take itself too seriously and is just dumb fun. And at only 20 minutes with most songs not spanning more then two minutes, it doesn’t overstay its welcome.
The opener “Funeral Solution” has Dwyer screaming the words “What The Fuck is Going On?” with a wall of crackling and burning guitar lines and breakneck drumming, and you know what you’re in for. It could be in reference to the pandemic, or just the general misshapen world we find ourselves in, but it doesn’t really matter. It’s punk rock with a subtle purpose—to incite peaceful violence and moshing. An album to experience live if you get the chance.
Osees are also adept at composing and yes, even though many of the instrumental hooks like the bass riff on “Perm Act,” are simple, they work. We honestly need more albums like this. Too many artists take themselves too seriously nowadays and while Osees did fall into that trap, they’re certainly out now.