Essential New Music: Oh Sees’ “Orc”

What’s in a name? For guitar wildman John Dwyer, it’s hard to tell. After several releases under various permutations of “OCS,” “the Ohsees” and “the Oh Sees” (to name a bare minimum), the psych-revival whiz finally settled on “Thee Oh Sees” for 10 years and a dozen albums. Dwyer has upended that streak by streamlining the band’s name to just “Oh Sees” on his 19th creation, Orc. The wild and wiry “The Static God” sets the stage with pummeling dual drums and scraping guitars. Several of Dwyer’s side-genre interests get added to the fold, too: There’s seething R&B on “Jettison” and menacing metal on “Animated Violence.” The album’s centerpiece is “Keys To The Castle,” which starts as a blood-pumping rave-up before transforming into a scorched-earth instrumental in its second half. Name games aside, Orc is a continuation of the careening energy and creativity that has defined the most recent handful of Oh Sees’ records, making it one of the most beastly in the bunch.

Eric Schuman