[sic] Magazine

Osees – Protean Threat

Osees is, of course, just the latest in a long line of homophonic aliases used by John Dwyer, this variant already wheeled out this year alone for a single, 12” and mini-LP all before this new studio album, roughly the 23rd in an ever-mutating garage-psych/cosmic punk series that’s recently had a hard-on for heavy-funk grooves and rhythmic prog. By comparison, and despite being fuelled by Extinction Rebellion, societal unrest, capital greed, hate crimes, post-truth, and privilege, Protean Threat is a relatively more straightforward record as a lot of this anger fades fairly quickly and most of the LP is more fun than that list makes it sounds.

That’s not to say Dwyer isn’t at least partially consumed by the woke zeitgeist though, allowing himself to coast at times in cruise control in its shadow, “Gong Of Catostrophe” and “Mizmuth” in particular sounding like the Dwyer back catalogue has been fed as training material to some AI programme that’s then faithfully pumped some predictable riffs back out. An injection of genuine excitement though, there’s a near grindcore ferocity to the explosive opener and this is followed up by the poorly named, smash-and-grab sirens and vitriol of “Dreary Nonsense”. Anti-establishment rage coming to a head on “Terminal Jape”, Dwyer duly deploys enough heavy weaponry to make your average Man quake in his boots, the later wah-fired stomp of the suitably druggy “Toadstool” enough to finish him off.

Dwyer otherwise holds court over trademark rhythms and playbox percussion, the unexpected yin never far away from his grooving yang, half-mast rumblers picked over by primeval distortion, loungy organ-psych slashed apart by guitar torture, and intricate garage-punk led astray with choppy noodling. Truth be told, Dwyer can dial this sort of stuff in these days, but picking up this particular receiver always feels like listening in to some premium-charge sex-line. Turn the lights down low and treat yourself.

Best track: “Red Study”

~Protean Threat is released 18th September 2020 via Castle Face.~