|OXP - 'Save Those Flames' (Self Released)|
|Written by Gaz E|
|Sunday, 27 March 2011 05:00|
"Who's this French band that's been added to the bill?", was the question I asked to anyone in my vicinity at a recent gig when a previously unknown outfit got added to the evening's line-up at short notice. Within the hour a form of mass hysteria had infected the venue's inhabitants, the symptoms being jaws hitting the floor, heads nodding and everyone moving, trancelike, nearer to the stage.
The reason for this sudden contamination of cool was the appearance of OXP, a three-piece from Evreux in France, who impressed me so much in their short time on stage that I couldn't wait to get home and slap my newly-acquired copy of their four track 'Save Those Flames' EP into my stereo.
Scrolling down to the Myspace link at the bottom of this review may well give you a clue as to the musical influences of this terrific trio. 'The Other Xperience'; okay, so we have a definite Hendrix vibe here - and if you had seen vocalist/guitarist Lance tearing it up onstage you would know why - but the band have chewed up all manner of cooler than thou classic rock and spewed it out in glorious form that, seriously, deserves your attention. Think retro-fuelled garage rock, equal parts Danko Jones and Wolfmother, trading classic Purple and Lizzy licks, but with a rich vein of progressive rock coursing through it. And I'm talking Johnny-Rotten-influenced-by-Van-der-Graaf-Generator progressive, when the P-word was synonymous with alternative music before it got adopted and abused by those clods in druid costumes intent on cursing the world's ears with their banks of keyboards and ethereal excrement.
Opening, and title, track 'Save Those Flames' rides in on a fat retro riff and should be forwarded to Lenny Kravitz to remind him that he too could be putting out cool shit like this in this day and age. 'Boom Boom Pow' follows and showcases that Hendrix influence and mixes it with a sweet Seventies groove, throwing classic Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple into the mix. 'Calimerovingien' opens with some impressive bass playing before unleashing a distorted riff and then some nice backing vocals over the simply effective chorus. A crazed guitar solo pushes this track over the edge. Final track 'Good To Be There' revels in the glorious backing vocals that impressed so much in the live setting, and lays them over a song that offers many twists and turns, all of them impressing.
However jaded you might be with the music scene, having a band like OXP appear unexpectedly before you like some gift from the rock gods is cleansing for the soul. Bands coming from nowhere and blowing us away is the reason why we do this shit, why Uber Rock exists. We love music, discovering new music and pointing similarly minded people in the direction of our finds. You could do a lot worse than check out OXP; this EP impresses but it is on stage that this band excel and, with more UK dates promised this Summer, you'd be a fool to miss them.