Last year, fans all but thought Thee Oh Sees had called it quits. There were talks of “breaks” and “transitional periods.” Frontman John Dwyer had left his longtime home of San Francisco for L.A., and his bandmates weren’t following suit. For fans, Drop will be a welcome surprise, if only because they didn’t see it coming. But even those unacquainted with Thee Oh Sees brand of reverb-friendly, psychedelic garage rock will find something to get behind here. The whole thing kicks off with the twee-like 8-bit chimes of “Penetrating Eye,” but that sonic introduction explodes about 30 seconds in, saw-like guitars and drums blazing a trail of remarkable fury in its wake. Meanwhile, Dwyer offers up a chastising chorus of “la la las” over the onslaught. From there, Drop progresses like an amplified drug trip. “Encrypted Bounce” offers looping drums and a whole lot of buzzy guitar noodling; “Put Some Reverb on My Brother” is a twisted little psych-rock affair whereby Dwyer throws his voice through a delay pedal and achieves some gloriously sinister effects. And a little over halfway through, “Camera” gussies up a super-simple guitar hook with some of the album’s warmest harmonies, conjuring images of desert sunsets and starry-eyed hippiedom despite its fuzzed-out flourishes. The whole thing hits its climax with “Transparent World,” a feedback-driven exercise in sonic layering that’s part Flaming Lips weirdness, part Sonic Youth guitar worship. It’s whacked out in the best way possible and indicative of a band that’s back in action and loving every minute of it.
Thee Oh Sees