Now here's an interesting cross-section of American indie-hood. Yes, the Oxford Collapse are from Brooklyn, and yes, they are dancy enough to name-drop electro-clashy Williamsburg alongside the nuevo No Wave of the Rapture and Les Savy Fav. Luckily, that background is immaterial to the crux of this taut trio and their fine sophomore album, A Good Ground. At their heart, the Oxford Collapse stem from a classic DIY underground more concerned with spilling their souls than building hipster cred. Tracks like "Prop Cars" bleed early Superchunk, with frontman Michael Pace's ragged mantras wedged between angular-yet-catchy chord clusters, and "The Last American Virgin" sounds like a lost relic from a forgotten, Midwestern band with more stars in their eyes than bills in their pockets. The frenetic tripwire energy and stop-start antics of Mission of Burma and Wire are present, but everything's delivered with the loose jangle of Cap'n Jazz and Murmur-era R.E.M. With its combination of boyish élan and jagged restlessness, A Good Ground practically jumps off the pages of author Michael Azerrad's indispensable account of the '80s American indie underground, Our Band Could Be Your Life.
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