I get what's so great about John Dwyer: He's a musical explorer who uses the building blocks of psychedelia, electronica and garage rock to create technically compelling fireworks. His music is complicated and distantly cool stuff that never quite fits into a single genre. An Odd Entrances marks the 18th studio album for his band, Thee Oh Sees, and it's meant to be a companion to its March release, An Odd Exits. Exits had a more Sabbath flavor to it, and I appreciated the way the band took full advantage of its relatively new two-drummer setup on that album. The departure of vocalist Brigid Dawson, who was arguably the band's secret weapon, was a loss for its sound, but Exits seemed to hold together anyway.
Entrances is a whole other beast, with some songs emulating British psych folk complete with lines such as, "And from his hand a sword did land." Even more puzzling is "Jammed Exit," which sounds like the soundtrack to a Super Mario World game—perhaps from an advanced level in the far reaches of outer space. Flutes toodle in chinook-like outbursts and the synthetic sounds of bubbles popping create a cartoonish soundscape. What is going on here? The album is willfully disjointed and devoid of authentic feeling. Like Thee Oh Sees' other albums, Entrances feels like a sculpture made by a madman or a science experiment built by the smartest kid in the class. It might be innovative, but that doesn't mean it's compelling.
Thee Oh Sees plays Stage 112 Wed., Nov. 23, at 9 PM, along with Ferbus. $23/$20 advance.