New Music for Lockdown 2 – Orc by Thee Oh Sees

Yesterday I hypothesised that this would be another heavy album, and with the name of ‘Orc’ I was expecting a series of songs about killing dragons, how Saruman is a traitor, and that Gandalf’s beard is sponsored by Daz.

I was a bit wrong.

Orc is a garage rock album, according to Wikipedia, and the first track has that punch. At first it matched my expectations, it is a fun, rocking bounce of a song and it definitely wakes you up when you listen to it at 6am on a Sunday because you forgot to turn your alarm off.

So, I thought in sleep addled haze, this is just going to be more of the same generic semi-grunge. The moment I thought that a song called Night Expo started, with heavy synth, a fast constant base and so much silliness in it that I fell in love. A rich, blurred guitar comes in alongside a theremin, and then the vocals are a layering of gentle soft woman singing and a man doing the voice of of every ’80s B-movie villain.

The whole caries on on that theme; confusion. I didn’t once know what the next song was going to sound like. Some were jazzy, some funky, some pure rock, some lazy and slow, others fast and powered through.

I don’t think I’ve heard an album like it. I’ve heard songs like those before, but never all placed on the same album so unashamedly. There’s no through line, no similarity, no motifs.

I really like it. It’s a bit mad. Oh, and Night Expo ends with the scream of the headcrab zombie from Half life 2, so bonus points.

I’ve bought the vinyl. Fuck off, you’re a hipster.

Tomorrow’s new album is something of an Aussie classic that I’ve never gotten around to…

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Published by Adam Unwin

Yeah, I write stuff occasionally, make things up on stage, and like saying words other people have written in a dramatic way.

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