I went into A Weird Exits not knowing what to expect, having listened to none of Thee Oh Sees’ previous albums (there are eleven in my defence) and having only skimmed one or two reviews. I would also say that the style of music on the album is a little bit outside my comfort zone as well… So it’s weird that I ended up loving this album as much as do.
A Weird Exits only features eight tracks, but this is a strength rather than a weakness. With so few songs, each of them feels well-rounded and unique… Though it’s obvious that they all belong to the same band/album, no two sound the same. ‘Gelatinous Cube’ is high-energy and off-the-wall, ‘Craw out from the Fall Out’ is a spaced-out eight-minute slow jam and on ‘Jammed Entrance’ it sounds like the band have handed the vocals over to a robot… (You have to hear it to get what I mean.) At only 40 minutes, the album understands that less is more (unlike some other albums… *cough* Starboy *cough*) and tries to make each of those minutes count.
Thee Oh Sees’ music has a grimy garage rock feel to it – like I said, out of my comfort zone – and the cover pretty accurately represents the messiness and weirdness the album exudes. It’s when the band indulges most in this griminess that the album is at its best – like on the opening track, ‘Dead Man’s Gun’, which features a beautifully messy guitar riff. It’s definitely one of my favourite tracks on the album, contrasting messy and clean incredibly well. The dream beat remains steady and grounded throughout the song while many of the other instruments go completely off the wall.
Other favourites include ‘Jammed Entrance’ – a funky robotic jam – and ‘The Axis’, which can only be described as anti-love song, with its break-up lyrics contrasting with its waltzing almost romantic pace: ‘Don’t you know, how much I don’t love you?’ ‘Gelatinous Cube’ is another incredible track – and easily the one that most deserves the title of ‘messy’. The opening guitar work reflects the title of the song well, pulling to mind the image of oozing gelatine/slime. After this the song bursts into a fast pace, passing through several different phases in its short three minutes. Like I said, Thee Oh Sees don’t waste any time on this album.
If I’m honest, all of the songs on this album are great and they flow incredibly well together. Despite its messy feel, this is a really well-rounded piece of music that’s definitely worth giving a listen.
Essential Songs: ‘Dead Man’s Gun’, ‘Jammed Entrance’, ‘Gelantinous Cube’.