Vinyl Vlog 334

Vinyl Vlog 334

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Friday, 08 June 2018
COLUMN

OCS

Memory of a Cut Off Head

Let’s talk about Thee Oh Sees… sorry I mean Oh Sees… sorry I mean OCS. If you haven’t heard of them, you should. Not just because they’re scary prolific, but because they’re also responsible for some damn fine music. Not hurting things also is their DIY approach to their craft: all albums are recorded by and put out on frontman John Dwyer’s Castle Face records. And not that it matters, but Dwyer himself comes across as a man as knowledgeable about music as he is excited about making it. In his interview with Marc Maron, he expressed apprehension at the Oh Sees’ earlier material, which for a band like this means the album they put out 3 years and 6 albums ago.

But for a man so critical of his own music and on a race to “perfect” his style, this new release as OCS comes as a bit of a surprise. It’s a quiet storm of sorts. Memory of a Cut Off Head ditches all that loud distortion and focuses instead on acoustic instruments. I think anyone would be surprised that this band’s 20th album (and label Castle Face’s 100th) would sound like this. There’s undoubtedly elements of the Oh Sees we know and love, and the psychedelia and acid-prone (forgive my terminology: I know nothing about drugs or drug-taking) movements are easy to recognize. Memory of a Cut Off Head is a relaxing listen (even more outrageous considering what the band has followed it up with) that sounds straight up baroque folk at times. It’s a nice change of pace and makes me want to see some of the older Oh Sees songs reinvented in the same way.

Of course, this is an Oh Sees release so you need to get it on vinyl. This double album comes not as a gatefold but in an extra wide sleeve with artwork depicting the photographs that have been reinvented for the cover. Oh Sees might have been going for some form of purity with Memory of a Cut Off Head, and that purity can only be preserved on a healthy slab of vinyl.

Get it from Castle Face.

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