With each new OSEES album there are always two questions: 1) Will they change the spelling of their name again? 2) What musical genre pairing will John Dwyer make you fall in love with this time?
With Intercepted Message, they stick with the OSEES name as they have on their last three albums (they’ve gone through six name variations in the past 20 years). And this time, Dwyer cooks up his classic punk/garage sound and iconic vocal package and pairs it with keyboardist Tomas Dolas, aka Mr. Elevator Synth, to create sometimes subtle and other times chaotic experimental synth disco and new wave-inspired beats with weird, wacky, and sometimes uncalled-for lyrics. The resulting heavy, creative synth sounds make you want to tap your foot occasionally but also make you scratch your head when followed up with more mellow tracks that feel out of place.
“Goon” and the title track give us a taste of the potential of this sound, only to be followed up by tracks like “Die Laughing” and “Chaus Heart” that have their own moments but stray away from the already established synth disco sound, making them feel out of place. Halfway through the album, Dwyer and Dolas start to explore and experiment with this new style by adding more layers. The track “The Fish Needs a Bike” gives you some of the most unique and odd content in this album by adding strong garage psych touches that makes you think acts like Ty Seagal, KGATLW and Frankie and the Witch Fingers.
Each time I listen to this album I keep finding something new I like about it, whether it’s some of the best experimental synth tracks of the year or some unique experimental sounds that the band could easily capitalize on in future projects. On the opposite side, the experimental sounds sometimes veer into chaos with so many colliding sounds and layers of noise. My own personal experience with the fan base suggests this might be a positive for OSEES diehards. Overall, this project is a great example of an experimental album that will most likely be looked back on as a springboard for ideas and sounds that Dwyer and Dolas will evolve on in the future.