All of this damn rain has left me pasty and pugnacious. Thankfully, the newest offering from Thee Oh Sees, Castlemania, provides a much-needed dose of sunshine in the form of 16 rollicking, psychedelic tracks. John Dwyer and his musical cohorts have been churning out some of the most consistently inspired rock and/or roll for about a decade, and their latest release is just one more in a long line of inimitable Bay Area barnburners.
"I Need Seed" sets the tone with jangly acoustic guitars, Beefheart-esque call-and-response vocals, and sing-along lyrics ("I am dirt, but I can be/A home for wayward hungry seed"). "Corprophagist" jumps in after with shouts of "yeah yeah yeah yeah" and reverb-drenched bells and flute. Other standout tracks, "Pleasure Blimp" and "The Whipping Continues," take us further into the collective burned mind of a band eschewing any easy labels. Two well-chosen covers, West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band's "I Won't Hurt You" and the Creation's "If I Stay Too Long" close out this unique slab of summery pop. When all is said and done, it's not the weather outside that matters... it's the climate in your headspace that counts.