Oxford Collapse

Brooklyn's Oxford Collapse shakes off the last dregs of the NYC disco punk craze (or is it "punk disco?"—I can't keep this shit straight anymore) to deliver a near-flawless collection of jangle rock anthems. Remember the Night Parties is stuck in a time warp. But in a good time, maybe 10 or 15 years ago. Ya know, back when labels like Merge and Matador were putting out record after record of sludgy slack rock made by working-class schmoes and good ol'-fashioned drunkards. Oxford Collapse may be neither of these, but they play music like working-class drunks. "He'll Paint While We Play" marches in softly, singer Michael Pace's controlled caw carving out a lullaby over pattering drums and neatly picked arpeggios. The second track and first single, "Please Visit Your National Parks," charges with guitars hanging on a single note during the verse and exploding into crisp, rich chords in the triumphant refrains. "Kenny Can't Afford It" builds with busy, scattered drums, gang vocal cries and a regal trumpet before melting into a puddle. Songs like "Loser City" and "In Your Volcano" are more straightforward but still loose, with sea shanty choruses and mellow instrumental breaks providing some of the record's best moments. Aside from "Return / Of Burno," a tedious, meandering dirge that brings the entire record to a deadening halt, Remember the Night Parties is a solid and enjoyable rock album. The record may re-invite more critical comparisons to IRA-era REM and early Superchunk. But that's not such bad company to keep.
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Geoff Johnston

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