With support slots for Enter Shikari, The Ghost Of A Thousand and Kids In Glass Houses, 4-piece Oakwood certainly know where to make a name for themselves.
After forming the band in early 2006 and undergoing a few member changes they are now concentrating on recording their debut EP, which is scheduled for release at the end of October. The four members of Oakwood who all hail from Harlow, are Parloof on vocals, Joey on guitar and vocals, Ben on bass and Molloy on drums.
Oakwood's influences are pretty diverse and include The Beach Boys and The Cure to the more contemporary and harder Glassjaw and Converge. Musically their style sits somewhere between the Blood Brothers spazz rock escapades and the hardcore elements of Converge. They have been previously described as making "chaotic, edge noise that's often juxtaposed against moments of edgy calm and even silence to ensure maximum intensity". 'A short fanzine about rocking' Personally I think these Harlow boys have a great deal of energy that sounds like it needs to find an escape route and fast.
Opening track 'Criteria For Mice' shows off their ability to create some good dynamic contrasts and mess about with time signatures. There is definite dance rock and hardcore elements in this track but I'm not sure they have been combined in the best possible way.
Track 2 'Calculatus Eliminatus' is a definite reminder of the Blood Brothers jerky spazzed out danceable rock, it also sounds slightly spacey in sections. Similar is track 3 'Comma 9', which starts off with a cleaner sounding guitar and vocal line and only after a long and greatly contrasting dynamic section does the intense screaming reappear. I cannot help feeling that this would have been a great track without the element of hardcore. I like both sounds individually and sometimes they do work well together as contrasting moments if they are fused together in a way where the sound is seamless. I just don't think this is.
As for standout tracks I like track 5 'KrissKross', which begins with intense screaming energy and almost collapses in the middle like they've tired themselves out already.
What I do like about this band is that they are definitely trying to push boundaries, they're experimenting with styles that they love and they're creating some unique sounding tracks. With a bit of direction and I'm sorry to say a slightly better recording they probably would intrigue me enough to go and check them out in a live setting. I'm just concerned that all this enthusiasm and energy that comes across would need to be tamed just slightly to create some stick in your mind tracks. Otherwise they're going to end up like the Testicicles, remember them?