Thee Oh Sees: Mutilator Defeated At Last

Eye, eye! US man delivers a psych belter.

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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

Jo Kendall

Jo is a journalist, podcaster, event host and music industry lecturer with 23 years in music magazines since joining Kerrang! as office manager in 1999. But before that Jo had 10 years as a London-based gig promoter and DJ, also working in various vintage record shops and for the UK arm of the Sub Pop label as a warehouse and press assistant. Jo's had tea with Robert Fripp, touched Ian Anderson's favourite flute (!), asked Suzi Quatro what one wears under a leather catsuit, and invented several ridiculous editorial ideas such as the regular celebrity cooking column for Prog, Supper's Ready. After being Deputy Editor for Prog for five years and Managing Editor of Classic Rock for three, Jo is now Associate Editor of Prog, where she's been since its inception in 2009, and a regular contributor to Classic Rock. She continues to spread the experimental and psychedelic music-based word amid unsuspecting students at BIMM Institute London, hoping to inspire the next gen of rock, metal, prog and indie creators and appreciators.