The Osees are a purist group today, but if past is really any proof, they may not be used for long. Every album from John Dwyer’s amazingly inventive endeavor — previously known as “OCS”, Oh Sees!, theeOh Sees, and on and on — has performed like a take on a slot machine, a randomisation of car parts, psych-pop, and krautrock, trim with varying degrees of experimentation. But the project’s 26th album was “Unfinished”, A Foul Form, is a leaving even for a team that keeps feeding on departing, an outraged tribute to the nastiest, crustiest purist of the early 1980s. It’s the first Osees mark in a while that the above band’s obsessively devoted fan foundation couldn’t possibly find arriving.
Recorded in Dwyer’s room on what must have been the most pathetic device he can summon, A Foul Form takes only 22 minutes, one of those is an ending lid “Sacrifice” by British anarcho-punk creators Rudimentary Peni. The combination is a clever combination of demented and naked. With their cassette-tape faith, such songs are almost instantly roaring, but that low end is spiky with a protective layer of plaintive input and tough fixed snaps that poke at someone who perishes to the desire to show up the volume. It’s as if the integral causticness of the purist wasn’t so great. They must landmine it.
A false Form is A mad mark, like the masterpiece purist it resembles, it’s difficult to know where the firestorm stops and where the self-aware hyperbole starts. For much of the album, Dwyer weeps at society’s cruel disregard for human life. On “Perm Act” he shoots at the police “eating in their car while you’re gasping in the dirt.” On “Frock Block” he wants to end the church’s sanctioned hatred of pearl-clutching monks: “Being yourself is simply not a crime/You won’t burn in hell all the time.”
It’s very appropriate and insulting, but there’s humour beneath the area, notably in Dwyer’s bonkers voice concerts. His teasing, smirking tone loops through soft experiences of classic thug choir — Henry Rollins, Iggy Pop, Ian MacKaye, Johnny Rotten — without ever implying a final form. It’s like he’s methodical from every punk band he grew up listening to. Often he embraces a British voice only to fall it after a handful of speech.
Some hilarious hilarity, too, tiles, from the obvious pressure between the band’s efforts at true style activity and their new indicator leanings bumping at the edges of such audio. Scribby tunes and skronky peripheral nudges “Fucking Kill Me” and “Too Late For Suicide” like that if trying to break through the simple song forms and sketch out the older, creepier ballad on the five-piece lineup’s DNA. But the alert environment of A Foul Form never really permits them to get anywhere. Yet if Osees are all just freelancers, they were completely engaged in the function.