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Thee Oh Sees: Mutilator Defeated At Last

Eye, eye! US man delivers a psych belter.

For those of us with kaleidoscope eyes, it’s something of a boom time. Thanks to Tame Impala, Ty Segall, Temples, Goat et al bobbing their prismatic noggins over rock’s parapet, the modern psychedelic underground has begun to mushroom again (ahem) beyond a grimy niche.

In the US, John Dwyer has been toiling at a particularly noisy seam for around two decades, leading groups who blow musical minds for a living, such as Thee Oh Sees.

Nine albums along, his home experiment recording project turned full-band live maelstrom is now benefiting from some studio attention. And on Mutilator… their trademark full-tilt Nuggets grind remains intact, excelling on the windswept licks of the trashy Withered Hand and RoguePlanet’s almost goth-punk assault.

Opener Web dips into the arty clatter of Damo Suzuki’s Can, penetrated by some evil guitar work that Keith Levene could cook up, before a frantic, fuzzed-out finish. But Dwyer’s garage-wailin’ blueprint has expanded: Turned Out Light goes a bit Howlin’ Rain with its country-fuzz bounce and Holy Smoke’s arpeggiating acid-folk skips along in double time.

It’s redressed by Poor Queen’s trebly whipalong and a sultry, progged-out Sticky Hulks, amounting to a rather fine rock record indeed./o:p

Embracing weird, wild and wonderful sounds, Prog's Associate Editor Jo's also a Classic Rock columnist, an avid tea-drinker and cupcake fancier.