The Oxford Coma Goes Infrastatic

The Oxford Coma
Infrastatic EP

Do not be confused by the name, The Oxford Coma is not a Vampire Weekend cover band, not even close in fact. No, The Oxford Coma have a sound that delves into metal at all the right spots, holds to a progressive aesthetic and somehow creates songs that wouldn’t be out of place on alternative radio. On their facebook page they call their style “progressive psych-grunge” which is close to the truth, but doesn’t really touch on what they are that isn’t included in that little descriptor. They made their live debut last month closing down the Open Source Project in Tempe with Horse Head at any amazing show where projection artist John Knott (of Weezer’s “Hang On” video) provided some dazzling visuals. Free with admission was their debut EP, Infrastatic—three terse and terrific songs that I think only hint at what is to come from this power trio, produced by Jalipaz and Dan Somers at Audioconfusion. If the show was any indication, this is only the start for these hard rocking iconoclasts who seem quite enamored with black light and day-glo.

“Seven” opens up the record and their self applied description isn’t too far from the mark here, it would not surprise me in the least to catch this song on 103.9—thunderous, fast and fun, with a heavy layer of prog to keep it interesting, steeped in grunge, but the comparisons sell them short. No one sounds like this right now in this town and that’s what made my ears perk up when I first heard them. In short, their music is pretty refreshing because of that. During their live performance there was a pervasive groove throughout their songs which is rare with anything bordering on metal and grunge, but they definitely had it, recalling the genre experimentation of Faith No More or early, early  RHCP.  Nowhere is this more evident than on “Last To Die” which speeds by at a hundred miles an hour, with that great groove intact and flashes of brilliance throughout, this is a dark song that makes you remember just how fun head banging hard rock can be. “Peregrine” finishes the record as an amalgam of the best features of the preceding two songs slammed into one, here everything shines, perhaps not as catchy as “Seven” or not as thunderously thrilling as “Last To Die”, “Peregrine” solidifies their sound slightly better, serving as more of a signature than the other two, which leaves you remembering it, because it’s their parting shot for now.

Not for long I suspect, these kids are ambitious and driven, working on new songs, aiming at an album this year and continuing to create their own amazing vision or re-vision, as it were. One thing for sure, whether you listen to the EP or see them live, it’s difficult to believe there’s only three of them making that sound, because it comes off across as something really, freaking huge sonically speaking and it is. Now the most difficult thing to do is sit  around and wait for that album, because considering the territory they cover in three songs, the album is going to blow minds left and right.

The Oxford Coma on Facebook

(Editor’s Note: A slightly edited version of this article appeared in the January Issue of JAVA Magazine.)