The announcement that Thee Oh Sees would go in hiatus was understandable if not concerning. The psyched-out garage rockers never seemed to rest. It only seemed fair, but then, a hiatus can so easily turn into the end.
So Thee Oh Sees released a goodbye-for-now, Drop, for Record Store Day — but what’s really happening here is Thee Oh Sees mastermind John Dwyer acting almost entirely as a one-man band. The band has always been prone to member shifts, but this is different, and it sounds different. This album lacks Brigid Dawson’s harmonies and the relentless thrash of Mike Shoun’s drums and Petey Dammit’s guitar and bass. Dwyer brought in a new crew to help where he needed it, which wasn’t too much, and notably includes Mikal Cronin on sax duty.
Drop opens on “Penetrating Eye,” the nearest the record gets to the usual intensity of Thee Oh Sees. Dwyer tears it up plenty, but he left much more room for dreamy ambience, particularly in the quiet haze of “Transparent World.” And, again, there’s that sax popping up on the partially-acoustic “Put Some Reverb On My Brother.”
You’d hate to see Dwyer stuck in a creative rut, so, let’s be glad he’s not. Drop might make you pine for Floating Coffin and Carrion Crawler / The Dream, but that giddy and sneering spirit of Thee Oh Sees is still there. It makes it hard to let go of what you love.