May 10, 2011 - Esperanza Plantation
Oxford Basement Collection allows Colour Revolt frontman Jesse Coppenbarger an outlet for his more hushed, gentle side under the El Obo moniker. Even Colour Revolt's more languid, grumbled sprawls tend to have a gritty, howled dynamic about them, however, so be warned that Oxford Basement Collection is far softer to the touch, if not occasionally weird and otherwise lethargic.
The title of lush, floating opener "W8 Off My Mind" makes over-analytical listeners wonder if Coppenbarger is faking his American citizenship, to a tune that sounds like a streamlined Jeremy Enigk number. The murkier murmur of "On The Eighth Day" imagines J Mascis underwater, while the even creepier, electronic-vibed "Everyone Of The Hungry"—both the radio edit and doubly long, uncut closer—shows that Coppenbarger probably digs the new Radiohead record quite a bit. The middle third of the album has a heavy lull about it, though there's nothing here that's offensive by any means, and the spruced-up strum of "Vrgn Evl" gives it a momentary lift.
The occasional electronic flitter or momentary dirge manages to integrate into the record cleanly, as opposed to jarring the listener. Still, the songs often meander a little aimlessly, or become too sleepy for their own good, but Coppenbarger controls it just well enough to make this solo debut an efficient and periodically rewarding listen.