[sic] Magazine

Osees – A Foul Form

In John Dwyer terms, it’s been an age since we heard from him under his (Thee) Osees guise. Busy, of course, but with other projects of late, this latest check-in is still a bit of a surprise. A hard pivot from the jammy prog of a few years back and from the weirdo kosmiche that hung around his more recent moves, A Foul Form embraces DIY hardcore and scuzzy anarcho-punk in the same, loving way that King Gizzard did with thrash on Infest The Rats’ Nest. A Foul Form is a logical switch-up though if you’ve been paying attention, making good in just 22 minutes on what Metamorphosed threatened.

The change of direction is welcome, but the form chosen is – if you’re a fan of the original template – a fairly simple one to knock out quick and that compromises the work. Recorded with what sounds like a single mic in Dwyer’s basement, A Foul Form is purposefully cruddy, a tongue-in-cheek homage to punk fury that will slay live, but overall lacks quality. If it were almost any other artist, you’d be tempted to say vanity project, but Dwyer really isn’t the type.

Crucially, A Foul Form is still identifiably Osees, but perhaps Osees from another time if not place, a track like “Too Late For Suicide” a tell-tale, first-draft art-punk oddity blitzed out with bass distortion. Distorted electro-punk elsewhere quickly contorts into a primitive yelp and grind, the kit seemingly played with the drummer’s face, peeling feedback destroying the levels. The flatlining static of “Frock Block” has a hook for a heart and is dumb and fun as a consequence. “Perm Act” is in turn a hard-rocking psychobilly hoot throwing shapes in a battle jacket, while the fledgling electro HXC of the shouty “Fucking Kill Me” only works because it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Almost inevitably, there’s a full-frontal, 1982 Rudimentary Peni cover too that’s as exhilarating as ripping off a large scab, the title track earlier slashing numbskull noise into confetti with squealing post-punk guitars that come on like early Butthole Surfers. And yet, unlike the first wave of the likes Bad Brains and Black Flag, A Foul Form remains inessential listening except, ironically, perhaps for hardcore fans of Dwyer. Pun intended.

Best track: “Funeral Solution”

~A Foul Form is released August 12th 2022 via Castle Face.~