In 1986, Frank Zappa infamously asked, "Does humor belong in music?" We get the feeling ol' Frank may have been being sarcastic. He did that a lot.
The question you should be asking yourself, in regards to the self-titled debut The Ox On The Roof from NYC's The Ox On The Roof is "Does sarcasm belong in my record collection?" If the answer to that is a resounding huzzah (or even a half-hearted maybe), The Ox On The Roof may have delights in store for you.
The Ox On The Roof describe their influences as "a little punk of Fungazi, a little funk of '80s Chili Peppers and a little Built To Spill, and a whole bunch of early Isaac Brock, mixed with grit, pathos and some scream guitar solo gymnastics." All of those statements are true (particularly those about the guitar gymnastics).
The Ox On The Roof is part of a lineage that runs through Dead Kennedys to Devo, through Ween, exploding into a million points of stoned-out slacker lights. The common thread throughout these bands is their acerbic humor is laced with badass musicianship. In this, The Ox On The Roof is no exception.
The Ox On The Roof EP is basically split into two halves. There's the reedy, stripped-down rock n’ roll of "Run Away Ray Gun" and "Sobering," both of which sound the most like the cow surf punk of Dead Kennedys. And then there's the art-funk of "Hanging Out With A Wolfdog" and "A Fifth Of September," which sound richer, fuller, more like a band trying to be a band.
Either way, it doesn't matter, when the instruments go off! Not every musician wants to write great, profound, balladic moving lyrics about the oil crisis or hate crimes against penguins by polar bears. Sometimes, a band is just a band, waiting for the opportunity to drop white-hot napalm bombs of insane guitars and pummeling bass.
There will always be room for humor and sarcasm in rock n’ roll. Particularly when you can back it up with great, greasy chops.
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