In Review: Osees - Metamorphosed

Twisting and morphing in varying directions, John Dwyer's latest collection of b-sides still manages a few enthralling surprises.
Posted: 29 October 2020 Words: Gabby Thorn

Osees are one of few bands around that are truly unpredictable, in every sense of the word. With a blistering back catalogue of 24 albums spanning over a 17-year career, with seven name changes to boot (yes, this is the same band that have released under Thee Oh Sees, Oh Sees, The Ohsees, get the picture), the John Dwyer-fronted psych-rockers still manage to surprise and enthral in 2020. 

Friday 16th October saw the release of album number 24, Metamorphosed, a collection of five songs the band say were cut from 2019 project Face Stabber. Metamorphosed comes a little under a month since the release of their last studio album Protean Threat - for any other band, this would most likely be a feat that critics and fans would treat with scepticism. Who, exactly, can record two albums to be released four weeks apart without the quality wavering even slightly? Osees, it seems, certainly can.

One of the great pull factors of Osees is that you truly never know what’s coming next. One may easily speculate that with such a hefty discography and established career, the band could be inclined to play it safe; knowing what works and sticking to that style. For Osees, there is no style. Last year’s Face Stabber was a journey into the realm of progressive rock whilst The 12” Synththe band’s first foray under their new moniker consisted of just two acid-fuelled, ambient 20-minute tracks. Protean Threatmeanwhile, harked back to the searing psych-rock the band are most known for. As for Metamorphosed...quite frankly, it seems to be a little bit of everything.

Metamorphosed twists and morphs in varying directions; the opening three songs (all of which clock in at under two minutes) are most certainly closer to Protean Threat in their intensity, incorporating elements of their psych roots with John Dwyer’s captivating vocals. The album’s last two tracks slam the metaphorical brakes on Metamorphosedslowing the tempo and remaining close to the prog-rock vibe of Face Stabber. Album closer ’I Got A Lot’, sitting pretty at a little over 23 minutes, is a standout. It’s something of a hybrid, incorporating heavy psych-rock riffs with lengthy experimental interludes. In a way, the inability to pinpoint exactly what genre Dwyer is trying to channel only makes the album more exciting.

Is Metamorphosed Osees’ most profound piece of work? Probably not. But it’s an excellent B-Side of sorts to Face Stabber and is no doubt another treat for fans, who haven’t been starved of content in any way this year. With album 25 on the way next month, it’s clear that John Dwyer and co have no intention of slowing down.

Metamorphosed is out now via Castle Face Records.

More from buzz