Thursday, October 26, 2006

Oxford Collapse - Remember the Night Parties

Oxford Collapse
Remember the Night Parties
Sub Pop

Dude, it's totally like 1995 right now. At least in my head. I've been enjoying Remember the Night Parties from Oxford Collapse for the past week or so, and everytime I hear it, I remember my college days. It's simple really. While what I listened to in those formative years was varied, it definitely included the traditional indie rock (back when that was an actual music genre, not just a label) of the day. You know the bands I'm talking about – Pavement, Superchunk, Archers of Loaf, et al. To my ears, Oxford Collapse sound like they're straight outta Chapel Hill. But they're not. They live in my hood. BK represent.

Don't let that frighten you. Let's say you're sort of over that music and are thinking this disc might not be for you. Let's clarify then. Let's just say that they're reminiscent of these bands, not carbon copies. While stylistically Oxford Collapse harkens back to these bands, it's not as confined to that sound, and often stretches out a bit.

For instance, take the opener "He'll Paint While We Play." This doesn't have the trappings of that sound and certainly doesn't adequately set you up for what's about to come. Hold up. That sounds like a diss. It's not. In fact, this is one of my favorite tunes. It's one of those great openers you find on an album every so often. Guitar picking skips along while booming, reverbarating drums echo in the background. The vocals sound more Animal Collective than they do Archers of Loaf. The song just has this great build quality to it. Everytime it comes on, I'm usually walking through Manhattan headed to work, and this tune helps that walk sort of drift by unnoticed. Next up is "Please Visit Your National Parks." This is an appropriate follow up tune as it's a perfect example of all the name-dropping you read above. If you knew nothing about this band and I told you this was recorded in 1995 and put out on Merge, you probably wouldn't question it. With that said, Oxford Collapse pulls off this sound and makes it come across as new, not tired and passé. Chin Up Chin Up is another band who've accomplished this task, but that's another review.

Other highlights include "Return of the Burno" with its opening bass harmonics that fade back giving way to a thick, overdrive guitar that gives this tune a real head-nodding drive. "Lady Lawyers" and "Let's Varnish" keep the pep rally going with their upbeat, uptempo careenings. "Molasses" tops the charts for me as the standout tune on this record. If you can listen to this without tapping your foot and humming a bit, there's something very wrong with you. I listened to this tune four times today. You should do the same.

Remember the Night Parties is a solid outing from Oxford Collapse. I bought it along with a stack of other cd's and it took me a few days to get around to listening to it. Now I can't stop. Extra credit is given for inclusion of The Noid in their cover art and photography.

Check it out if you like: Chin Up Chin Up, Tapes 'n' Tapes
Listen to a sample here: video for "Please Visit Our National Parks"