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Thee Oh Sees/Total Control: Split 12-inch

Castle Face



Thee Oh Sees don't have many new tricks left up their sleeve. Still, the San Francisco troupe lays down four blasts of martian garage-rock on this split 12-inch with Melbourne, Australia's Total Control. "Dead Energy" kicks off with twisted guitar resonance as mastermind John Dwyer yelps out insectoid mantras. But once the formula is revealed, "Corrupt Coffin," "AA Warm Breeze," and "Blood In Your Ear" embrace the group's live affinity for long, rhythmic patterns. They feel a bit phoned-in, here. On the flip side, Total Control moves with a slower, post-goth traipse. "Nervous Harvest" and "Sweaty" build strength on noisy and yearning guitar textures that build in a haze of spectral distortion, bookending the sparse punk lashings of "For Lease" and "Rogue Abortion." They're primitive, jagged, and even though they don't possess the convulsive energy of Thee Oh Sees, Total Control's songs can linger in the synapses for days, thus stealing the show. (4 out of 5 stars)

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