John Dwyer leads the pack of Bay Area psych/rock misfits Thee Oh Sees, infamous for putting on unforgettable live showsm which is no small feat for a band that tours more than most bands can handle. But Dwyer is a veteran, conditioned like an athlete to perform, fronting literally dozens of bands and recording countless albums, EPs and 7 inches. Thee Oh Sees could be considered the final evolution of years spent honing his craft as a professional noisemaker.
In fact, Dwyer plays all of the instruments on Castlemania himself, with the help of Heidi Alexander and Brigid Dawson here and there. The punk ethos still runs in his veins; Castlemania is an acidic garage-rock effort that's been compared to Roky Erickson's output by many. But Thee Oh Sees are less concerned about perfection; the music itself doesn't have room for it -- they're more about having fun.
Castlemania features such appropriately ghoulish songs as "Corrupted Coffin" and "Blood on the Deck," all of which sound like twisted children's songs, due to swapping electric for acoustic guitars and expanding melodies to make more of a poppy sound. It's clear that Thee Oh Sees know exactly how to reincarnate the psychedelic era of the '60s without sounding cheesy or inauthentic. They know how to write quick, experimental pop songs in a way that's timeless. The result comes out to as 16 feverish tracks packed into just 40 minutes.
For a band famous for frighteningly loud shows and a deviously punk rock attitude, it almost seems too perfect that they'll be playing a Halloween show in San Diego. If you're looking for a holiday to remember, I highly suggest checking out Thee Oh Sees with Total Control and DevFits at Bar Pink.