THEE OH SEES - CASTLEMANIA
San Francisco's incredibly prolific Thee Oh Sees are back with another full-length album of original tracks plus a smattering of covers. While the group's previous releases on in the Red, Help and Warm Slime, showcase their amped-up, reverb-drenched garage-psych pummel, on Castlemania, John Dwyer and company take a more low-key approach. Dwyer himself describes Castlemania as "summer-y and poppy"; on many of the tracks, electric guitars are jettisoned for acoustic, and the normally echo-laden vocals are a bit clearer. Happy pop melodies, sweet and somber tunes, psychedelic moves galore, cover versions of the Creation and the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, and at least one garage stomper all rub elbows on Thee Oh Sees' "sunshine pop" album. It's release couldn't be more perfectly suited to the time of the year when the sunny skies return and the flowers start blooming.