Ohsees The Cool Death of Island Raiders

For John Dwyer, the end of his run delivering hiss-drenched garage rock with the acclaimed underground favourites Coachwhips simply meant a whole new chapter for his other endeavour, OCS. With a new spelling of the band name comes a new sound that should find the audience expanding thanks to some actual structure to his songs. No longer an experiment in sprawling noise and folk, Dwyer still embraces the lo-fi recording conditions, however, to help give him a boost he’s enlisted local Brooklynite David Sitek of TV On the Radio to whittle his ideas. The Cool Death of Island Raiders may reveal itself rather promptly as a vast difference in songwriting compared to the first couple OCS records, but along with its comprehensibility is still Dwyer’s indisputable will to indulge in testing the waters and keeping things loose. The two disappointing "Drone Number” tracks are nothing more than what their titles say they are — minimal ambient tests that move linearly without budging, feeling like nothing more than wasted space and time. "Cool Deaths,” meanwhile, is promising in showing a hankering for mixing a simple pop song with multiple layers of effects. "We Are Free” best shows the potential of the Ohsees though, confirming Dwyer’s reputation as an industry oddity and a veteran of utilising noise masterfully when necessary. As promising as The Cool Death of Island Raiders may appear, it’s not without its hitches; Dwyer has yet to match the greatness he achieved in Coachwhips with the Ohsees, but you can sense it’s only a matter of time before he stumbles on something close, possibly even greater. (Narnack)