“Paris Is Mine”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Gimmicks are big in the music business these days. Bands wearing odd uniforms, bands wearing facepaint, bands wearing masks. For The Oxford Coma, the gimmick is wearing sharp red zoot suits and black leather masks. And as usual, the gimmick is used to try and cover up very average material.

Put these guys squarely in the alt-metal/noise rock vein. Very simple guitar riffs and rhythms, scratchy solos and occasional clean vocals. It is by no means terrible but it makes the same impression as one leaf floating down a stream in late October…one among many. For this type of music to work, it has to be either phenomenally catchy or batshit crazy. Oxford Coma is neither. The lengthy “Ados Watts Jam” is a long, probably improvised piece of screaming guitar that really outstays its welcome. The big surprise on the album is an effective cover of Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks”, where the band puts a dirty, grinding spin on the classic. But when the best song on the album is a cover, it’s never a good thing.

I do admit, these guys look snazzy as hell in their crimson suits and kinky masks, but that’s the only thing I’ll remember about The Oxford Coma.