No Thee No Ess Release LP

The 60’s revivalists, known as No Thee No Ess, are set to release their latest album, Dimmer Switch, on Sept 17. The band’s influences aren’t necessarily limited to a single decade, but the core of their sound is certainly in line with the spirit of the 1960’s. N.T.N.E consists of a duo, Paul Battenbough and Andy Fung. The two seem to stimulate the oddity in one another, and as a result we get one of the more left of center offerings in some time. At 12 songs deep, Dimmer Switch has a lot to offer, though not every track is a home run.

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The album opens with the Sigur Ros like, “Kaleidoscopic.” This of course, contradicts the 60’s revivalists moniker, but it’s hard to argue the Icelandic lads, wouldn’t have thrived in that era. This track is airy and ambient, and it unfolds at a lethargic pace. It’s also the perfect choice for an opener, and one of the best things on Dimmer Switch. At 5:15, “Kaleidoscopic” is the longest song on the record, but it is time, well spent.

The toiling and cannabis soaked, “Sunshine,” perfectly bleeds into “Tailing The Ship.” No Thee No Ess, have both cited The Beach Boys as a primary influence, and that is blatantly evident on each of these tracks. “Tailing The Ship,” in particular, leans into the Brian Wilson method of turning introspective existentialism into catchy psychedelic pop. Both of these tracks are high points from a musical standpoint and for mood. “Sunshine,” includes clever lyrics, with engaging symbolism, and comforting tones, that make insolence seem like less of a bad thing.

“Broken Wheel Symphony,” manages to fit more time signature shifts into a two minute song, than I have ever heard. It’s hard to form an opinion on this one. You can hear Heroes And Villains era Beach Boys on the track, but ultimately it feels like a strange and inexplicable encounter. On “Jazz Hands,” you could say the less said the better, because there really isn’t much to say, at all. This one doesn’t take up too much time, thankfully, but for some it could have a sort of cheeky appeal. 

On “The Very Best Thing About Summer,” we get the closest thing to an anthem that No Thee is capable of. This song demonstrates how effective Battenbough and Fung are as songwriters, by keeping things loose, but tidy. Dimmer Switch is certainly best experienced, from start to finish, with absolutely no deviation from that approach. Certain things on the album would seem devastatingly out of context, if they were to stand on their own.

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What this record has in abundance, is integrity. No Thee No Ess show a pledge to their vision, that is more than admirable. Dimmer Switch is satisfying enough on its own, but it also makes you fervently anticipate what could possibly come next from these wizards of weird. As for now, dim the lights, and enjoy the trip.

Michael Rand

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