Album of the Week: Oh Sees – Orc

Orc by Oh Sees
Orc by Oh Sees

Prolific artists often go underappreciated in the music industry. It’s strange to see bands that only have a handful of albums be celebrated more than acts who have released over 20 records. The latter can be said about San Francisco garage noise rock phenoms Oh Sees (formerly known as Thee Oh Sees) and their latest album Orc released Aug 25 by frontman John Dwyer’s label, Castle Face Records. Orc is an excellent example of an already inventive band pushing artistic boundaries. Many elements are added to create a fresh sound that excites the senses.

Dwyer, who is a Providence native, delivers varied vocal ranges as each track goes along. He’ll at some points get velvety and soft while at other times get guttural and abrasive. He also plays synth on a few tracks that exude a ‘70s prog rock vibe. There’s also Joe Cueto adding his talents on violin. The dual drumming of Dan Rincon and Ryan Moutinho gives the entire album a resounding thud while bass guitarist Tim Hellman is the unsung glue keeping it all together.

Oh Sees are another example of the weird connection that Providence has to music all over the place. Do some research on a band and there will be at most a couple degrees of separation away from The Creative Capital. It’s fairly crazy for a small city like ours to have such a big impact on music, but it’s also pretty damn cool. It’s something that Providence natives should be very proud of. Anyway, enough of the humble brags and here are my top tracks off of the Album of the Week:


“Nite Expo” has got that vintage progressive space rock style happening with a quirky tone; then, when Dwyer’s guitar unleashes, all hell breaks loose. Capturing a righteous groove is “Jettison,” a prime example of Hellman’s presence on bass; there are downbeats galore and it holds down the classic loud-quiet-loud structure in fantastic fashion. Dwyer gets guttural on “Animated Violence,” and it’s heavy and emphatic.

Oh Sees will be playing the Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan on Sep 11 with Providence drum-and-bass duo Olneyville Sound System. New Englanders will be able to rage with Dwyer and company at The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA a few days later on Sep 13, which is already sold out. Both shows are prime opportunities to check out a memorable live experience. Don’t forget to grab a copy of Orc from the merch table if you end up going: It’s a wild record that has a whole lot to offer the ears.

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