Boomkat Product Review:
American experimental rock band Oxbow return with a new one for MIke Patton's Ipecac label.
"Previous OXBOW albums found their impetus in a lyrical framework provided by Eugene S. Robinson, with Niko Wenner applying his musical compositions to the singer’s narratives. However, Love’s Holiday began with the music. “The music was chiefly inspired by and written for my family. We’ve had two children born and my father die while writing and working on this record,” Wenner says. “The songs are just a collection of music that I sang to my babies and then wrote guitar parts for, and brought to the band as, OXBOW songs.” Love, the guitarist confirms, was the organizing principle behind these songs, even if they still carry the band’s signature brand of drama and conflict.
“I’ve always been chagrined that no one understood that our songs were love songs,” Robinson says while reflecting on the band’s output from the last 35 years. Love may not have been the most obvious music in their earlier work, but the subject has never been more obvious now.
One of the more apparent manifestations of this new approach is the orchestration on Love’s Holiday. OXBOW has often employed auxiliary instrumentation as an addendum to the guitars on their recordings, but this time around, human voices are the primary addition. Kristin Hayter (Lingua Ignota) lends her soaring, operatic vocals to “Lovely Murk,” while the layered choral bed of “1000 Hours” was provided by Roger Joseph Manning Jr (Jellyfish/Beck). The album also features a 15-person choir plus strings, oboe, flute, and clarinet.
For the differences in the process, Love’s Holiday is still very much an OXBOW album. Across its 10 tracks, Love’s Holiday feels feverish, disorienting, hostile, beguiling, defeated, and triumphant."