Thee Oh Sees – Putrifiers II

Putrifiers II is one of Thee Oh Sees’ most accessible albums. It relies on the band’s pop sensibilities, yet doesn’t apologise for its inherent garage-rock imperfections. The fuzz-laden sound of this prolific San Francisco outfit creates instant momentum on opener ‘Wax Face’: A quasi-Krautrock rhythm laying the foundation for some energetic riffs. John Dwyer’s vocals are almost inaudible – as they are on tracks like ‘Lupine Dominus’ and ‘Goodnight Baby’ – which only adds to the album’s psychedelic undercurrent. There are moody reflections on the sombre ‘Wicked Park’ and the title track, but for the most part, Putrifiers II exudes the happy-go-lucky feel of ‘60s pop coupled with a garage-rock nonchalance.

Meanwhile, the simultaneously released Singles Collection Vol. 1 + 2 captures the band’s unrestricted output and unrelenting sound. Aimed at fans, it contains some very rough and experimental demos, as well as many out-of-print and previously unreleased tracks. It’s not easily accessible for new listeners, however. The raw nature of the tracks becomes slightly overbearing, and the overall aesthetic is messy and experimental. And yet the 24 tracks here highlight the band’s multifaceted sound. The upbeat surf of ‘Carol Ann’ and ‘Mincing Around The Frocks’ contrast well against the more subdued psych of ‘Kids In Cars’ and ‘Comas’. Dwyer’s lo-fi vocals remain muffled and messy throughout, but lyrics aren’t really important: It’s all about creating momentum and energy.