An Odd Entrances marks the 18th (!!) LP by the consistently-metamorphosing psychedelic-rock band currently known as Thee Oh Sees, whose current lineup is anchored by two drummers. This new album is a supposed ‘companion LP’ to Thee Oh Sees 17th album, A Weird Exits, which was released just this past August. In my review of that album, I noted moments within the eight tracks that showed how fun and creative the band could be, but it was ‘overshadowed by an uninteresting bulk of the album’, a real disappointment considering the potential that comes with such a strange lineup. My immediate reaction to An Odd Entrances, as a ‘companion’ to the earlier album, is that it feels like a nebulous (rather than “cosmic” as the label would have you believe) collection of B-sides that weren’t engaging enough to justify placement into the first album.
In just the six tracks allowed on the album, there’s plenty of prog-instrumentation and experimentation, and almost no trace of the buzzing-rock that the first album centered around. Album opener “You Will Find It Here” sounds like a botched Led Zeppelin take circa Coda (1982) that was allowed to just continue as a jam session. “The Poem” is one of the few lyrical pieces, surrounded by a gently rolling guitar line and a faded string section that would fit comfortably in the Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie. The third track, “Jammed Exit” is a direct response / continuation to the first albums’ “Jammed Entrance”, whose funky drums and unreadable electronic melody reminded me of Herbie Hancocks’ early 70s work, albeit underbaked.
The fourth track, “At The End, On The Stairs”, is a brief glimpse of what could have been. Catchy and unique, wrapped around a great Latin drum groove of all things. “Unwrap The Fiend Pt. 1” is a buzz-rock instrumental that takes about three minutes to go absolutely nowhere and leave you with nothing. Album closer “Nervous Tech (Nah John)” is an eight-minute jam session with (finally!) impressive and clever use of the double drums, holding up some spacey but ultimately unimpressive guitar solos.
Looking at the descriptions of each track, there is nearly nothing remotely related between each song, little complementing the songs from A Weird Exits, and nothing improved upon or added. This small album feels like little more than an unnecessary ‘B-sides and Rarities’ record that does nothing for the band’s previous work, and doesn’t stand up on its own two legs. There were a fair amount of interesting ideas or rhythms on the album, but they all felt run-into-the-ground by overlong usage and no evolution/adaption during that run. I wasn’t a fan of A Weird Exits either, but at least that sounded like a coherent album. However, “The Poem” and “At The End, On The Stairs” are worth a listen.
review by Matthew Wardell