Oxford Collapse sounds like exactly the kind of stuff we've come to expect from bands from Brooklyn--featuring quirky, clever, sometimes surreal songs that switch influences from track to track, almost like someone riffling through a stack of mix tapes, tossing the keepers into a food processor and hitting "pulse."
Remember the Night Parties begins with "He'll Paint While We Play," the kind of slow, droning song that would lead you to believe that they are the sort of band that wears too much eyeliner. But then "Please Visit Your National Parks" false starts, and then starts again with buzzing guitars and yelled vocals. (It seems all three of the members of Oxford Collapse--guitarist Michael Pace, bassist Adam Rizer and drummer Dan Fetherston--sing.) It's much too messy for gobs of eyeliner.
Oxford Collapse likes to reconfigure your preconceptions with each song--"For the Khakis and the Sweatshirts" is a chunk of Superchunk with an aftertaste of the Cure; "Lady Lawyers" sports a bit of Minutemen, and "Return of / Burno" goes all jam-band halfway through its eight minutes. But to add even more flavor, Oxford Collapse sometimes tosses in melodica, trumpet and/or recorder, so that a song like "Molasses" becomes a little less gross ("Why can't I pick the scabs off your legs / they'll drip like molasses down the sides of my face"). There's even patriotic trumpet on "Kenny Can't Afford It." But the end result is a lumpy puree, somehow lacking all the integrity of its original ingredients.