Oxford Trauma, The - Everything Out Of Tune,
I was intrigued when I came across this album, as not only is the title interesting, but I live just five minutes down the road from Oxford (no, not that Oxford, this one is a small community in NZ which has a population of just two thousand people). I was keen to find out more when I realised that although the band was new to me, the producer was none other than Steve Albini, a man who has had a major impact on the annals of music history. According to the PR company, The Oxford Trauma have been likened to everything from early Tool to Primus, Radiohead to The Dillinger Escape Plan, Nirvana to Neurosis, King Crimson to Kyuss, so as one can tell this is something that is somewhat out of left field, which is what one would expect with Albini’s involvement.
Possible the best way of describing the music itself would be as creative noise rock-influenced psychedelic intensity, this isn’t clean melodic sounds that could hit the radio, but instead is something that is all-encompassing, music that is raw and primeval, hitting the listeners with solid slabs of sound, which may or may not have harmony as its base. Some music provides images of delicacy, as if dancers are moving through a continuous movement of colours and technique, while others come at you as if it is a workman with a pneumatic drill. Guess what this is like. This is music that drains the listener, just because it is so over the top, all the time. Although some of the vocals are fairly quiet and melodic, there is never any respite from the guitars and the attack on the senses that is there all the time. In some ways, this is music that is to be endured as opposed to be enjoyed, while at the same time incredibly relevant and to the point. If noise is your thing, or you have followed Albini’s career with interest, then this could well be for you.