Oxford Collapse | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Oxford Collapse

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I'm not entirely sure why the Oxford Collapse's sound strikes me as so right and good, which I'll take as proof that there are still bands out there whose ethos can't be described with the usual rock-crit algebra of style, reference, and image. The New York trio does avail itself of the ever popular Don Knotts vocal style (see the Ponys, Arcade Fire, et al) and sometimes strikes me as an Americanized update of high-strung 80s UK shamble-rock bands like the Fire Engines or Swell Maps, but I think such similarities are more a case of convergent thinking. There's a logic-bending design to songs like "The Boys Go Home," from A Good Ground (Kanine), their second album: a soaring chorus materializes from escalating guitar-pop chaos, like a lost hunter emerging from a forest and encountering a giant neon-blazing casino. And they've gotten better at staging these elusive little parlor tricks--ever since their superb self-titled 2002 debut EP their songwriting has become more puzzling without becoming more "difficult" or any less likable. I've been inundated by so much dance-floor-ready disco-punk that hearing a band from Brooklyn with such unassuming post-postpunk production values and old-school DIY looseness is kinda exhilarating. The Narrator headlines and Centipede E'est opens. Sat 12/3, 9 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433, $8.

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