Definitely as weird as you would expect, Castlevania, John Dwyer's Thee Oh Sees' squillionth release (this one through In The Red), is a cracker of a release. I know there are a lot of detractors of the San Fran band - just about every single one of those have never experienced Thee Oh Sees in a live setting, which indelibly colours everything Dwyer and co have ever put to tape - and this album isn't likely to change their minds. Castlevania may be a cracker of an album, but it is also decidedly cracked. C'mon, its a Fisher-Price smiley phone being answered by Nosferatu! And its named after one of the coolest platform video games ever created! Most of these tracks sound like they have been created by a demented children's variety band - the Wiggles on a heady dose of weed, if you will. Dwyer's vocals are reedy and helium-high, and with much of the lyrics focusing on laconic ennui and desperation, its without a doubt a strange journey. Musically though, the album comfortably straddles the skewed garage pop and the psych offerings that colour both sides of the Thee Oh Sees schizophrenic output. Plus the band has been fleshed out, adding The Intelligence/A-Frames member Lars Finberg, and the instrumentation hits a baroque inflection that further inflates the craziness. The guy puts out a stupid amount of material, and not all of it hits the right notes, but Castlevania is fantastic. Its the kind of bizarre pop that maybe The Kinks might have written had they been subjected to endless repeats of Eeyore and Spongebob. Surreal, playful, crazy as a bag full of rabid rats, and the most fun Ive had in a while. (Oh, and if this double LP isnt enough for you, there's another album due before the year's out, that Dwyer claims is "his best work yet". Let the speed freakishness continue...) Buy Castlevania here.
Thee Oh Sees - Corprophagist
Thee Oh Sees - Corrupted Coffin