The 19th release by garage/psych/punk band Oh Sees, Orc is perhaps the group’s most adventurous yet. While Oh Sees has largely built their following on the tattered sounds of sweat-drenched garage rock, this record, along with last year’s A Weird Exits, represents something of a new direction for John Dwyer and crew. The longest track on the album, “Keys to the Castle” casts the listener out into the desert as the group embarks on a synth-laden journey through some of the most beautiful musical passages its put to tape. Songs like “Raw Optics” and “Paranoise” are engulfed in noisy synths and guitars as drummers Dan Rincon and Paul Quattrone display their fantastic rhythmic chemistry, while others (namely “Cooling Tower,” whose beat calls to mind Can’s “Halleluhwah”) show the group fully embracing the sounds of krautrock they’ve often toyed with in the past. Beyond all of the fresh sonic territory, Oh Sees find themselves at home on the blistering psych-punk of “The Static God” and the monstrous riffs of “Animated Violence.” Orc is Oh Sees’ jammiest and most experimental outing to date. It’s also one of their strongest.
– Christian Touchet