Thee Oh Sees

Help (In the Red)

Phases & Stages

Thee Oh Sees

Help (In the Red)

Consider John Dwyer's musical career an evolutionary chart. In Pink & Brown, he pounded out late-1990s Neander-noise. With the Coachwhips, he fashioned fast blasts of garage punk. As the OCS and Ohsees, his bedroom backlog yielded gauzy reverb folk. Now, settled into his current simian brain, comes Help, Dwyer's most structured rendering of noise-pop yet. The San Francisco-based quartet continues tapping the rhythmic backbone of 2008's The Master's Bedroom Is Worth Spending a Night In, as opener "Enemy Destruct" pairs Dwyer and Petey Dammit's guitars in a metronomic race against drummer Mike Shoun. The 1960s jerk of "Meat Step Lively," complete with groovy end-song flute solo, recalls Billy Childish's livelier moments. Dwyer's and singer Brigid Dawson's voices are nearly indistinguishable, as are the lyrics, but when their harmonies chime just right, they're Frank Black and Kim Deal, which complements the good time bop of "A Flag in the Court," the buzz-saw repetition of "Ruby Go Home," and the cyclical psych echo of "Can You See?" Save for a track or two, Help is indeed fully erect.

***.5

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