Oxford Collapse, 'Bits' (Sub Pop)

7
Bits
Critical Mass
Label: Sub Pop

by Steve Kandell

Your town probably has an Oxford Collapse -- a tightly coiled indie act, smart-but-not-too-smart, hard-working, well-respected purveyors of shout-along choruses who've never quite broken from the increasingly crowded pack of same. So, about 25 minutes into their fourth album, when Dan Fetherston's martial drums and Adam Rizer and Michael Pace's choral vocals begin the slow rumble of "Children's Crusade," the moment feels as revelatory as it is cathartic -- Arcade Fire–size elation, without the uniforms and all the friggin' people. It's the sound of a band realizing they've outgrown their cramped room and bursting through the ceiling. But they're not going pomp on us -- let's see Win Butler try the couplet "My love came back from Sweden / Brought me some bathroom reading."

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