Joining the party fairly late with their 2016 release A Weird Exits, Thee Oh Sees were immediately a force of unified uncontrol. Now four years later, it is somehow honed on the chaos and deliberately heaven-sent on Protean Threat. From the singles that were released, the undertone of the tracks had this unprovoked animal that would immediately spazz upon contact.
Opening with “Scramble Suit II” on the 13 track record, the smashing feedback and cymbals of the percussion are enough to invoke a riot. Dan Rincon is a savage on the drums and stirs the pot of auditory torture. The work of John Dwyer on the guitar, vocals, and synthesizers make some room for the Mellotron that feeds into the tape effects and percussion as well. Tom Dolas on keyboard and Tim Hellman cover the bass where Paul Quattrone backs
The scorching heat melts the paint back off the vinyl record and when Protean Threat is not a rolling train car on kerosine, tracks like “Wing Run” showcase the ability to just play with immaculate use of space and depth. The key progression and small fills can conquer through the two-minute track and spawn diverse emotion to the record. While Osees are a sporadic and assorted bag of sound, Protean Threat feels comfortable to the touch but also unpredictable.
Even after 20 plus listens, the grooves of the track “Toadstool” continues to become a frequent flyer on the stereo because of its mixed and assorted grouping of resonation. Osees are always going to bring enthralling performance to their records, but “Toadstool” has Zappa level progressive freestyling that works in tandem to create a craft behind the art. It is a musician’s record for the musicians’ crowd. Protean Threat has a run-time of 38 minutes but spread out over the vibrant 13 tracks here, becomes closer to a long-winded dinner and dessert resembling a 13-course meal.
Like a fine piece of dado blade to cut grooves into the wood, Osees acts as a blade to cut into the record and turn Protean Threat into channels and trenches. Through these trenches comes a canal that leads around the lines in the vinyl, where Osees can capture the ears and demand attention like a drill sergeant on LSD.