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"Hands Out"

Ox Scapula – Hands Out
23 December 2010, 14:30 Written by

Ox Scapula (named after oracle bones that contains answers to divination, chiefly from during the late Shang Dynasty, fact fans), are a four piece from north of the (M25) border, who create a cacophony of grungy guitars, menacing drums and indignant vocals.

Album opener ‘II’ has spiralling riffs reminiscent of At The Drive In, mathy and noodling, with unapologetic, brash vocals, that, whilst could do with being a bit louder in the mix, almost have a percussive element to them.

Instrumental track ‘D.T.’ is all swirling drums, a James Bond theme-esque guitar riff and, despite being five minutes long, is the kind of track you feel you’ve lost half a day in.

The scuzzy, discordant and somewhat inharmonious guitars of ‘Dead Easier’ give it a wonderful uncertain motion, staggering around as if it’s not sure where it’s going next.

Aggressive, punky and grungy, Hands Out strings together sounds and ideas in a lurching juggernaut. It occasionally loses its sharpness and steel edges on the odd track, like ‘Half Circle’ but at only eight tracks long the EP generally holds interest and momentum throughout. It’s an accomplished debut, with Ox Scapula clearly making no apologies for living up to their “loud, klangy, horrible, awkward, punk” sound, and they’ve nailed it perfectly.

Whilst the genre might not be the trendiest or newest, or most ridiculously named for that matter, this is the kind of music that will make disgruntled kids sit up and pay attention, and make the rest of us dig out the records of our youth.

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