Oxbow announce new record, Love’s Holiday, out on July 21st via Ipecac Recordings
The inimitable four piece Oxbow are have announced their first new music in six years! Previous Oxbow records found their impetus in a lyrical framework provided by Robinson, with Wenner applying his musical compositions to the singer’s narratives. But the group’s new record Love’s Holiday, began with the music. “The music was chiefly inspired by and written for my family. We’ve had two children born and my father died while writing and working on this record,” Wenner says. “The songs are just a collection of music that I sang to my babies and then wrote guitar parts for and brought to the band as OXBOW songs”. Love, the guitarist confirms, was the organising principle behind these songs, even if they still carry the band’s signature brand of drama and conflict.
“I’ve always been chagrined that no one understood that our songs were love songs,” Robinson says while reflecting on the band’s output from the last 35 years. Love may not have been the most obvious muse in their earlier work, but the subject has never been more apparent than now. One of the more apparent manifestations of this new approach is the orchestration on Love’s Holiday. Oxbow has often employed auxiliary instrumentation as an addendum to the guitars on their recordings, but this time around, human voices are the primary addition. Kristin Hayter (Lingua Ignota) lends her soaring operatic vocals to “Lovely Murk”, the layered choral bed of “1000 Hours” was provided by Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (Jellyfish, Beck), and the record also features a fifteen-person choir plus strings, oboe, flute, and clarinet, all finding a place within the record.
To celebrate the wonderful news, Oxbow have also shared the video for the first single, the aforementioned “1000 Hours”, which was directed by John David Levy. About the track vocalist and lyricist Eugene Robinson comments, “‘1000 Hours’ for the OXBOW completist, 100 percent ties in to our other song 1000, thematically in my mind. But filming the video, given that I just had surgery a few days before felt very much like Mann’s Death in Venice to me. You know where waiting to die never felt more beautiful. Which really feels like the essence of love. Or at least one of them”. Guitarist Niko Wenner adds, “‘1000 Hours’ began life with the bright extroverted feel you hear most, but inevitably the darker introspective mood of the coda and intro emerged. Both qualities are essential to Love’s Holiday. Roger (backing vocals), John (video director), and Joe Chiccarelli (co-producer) all did extraordinary work to heighten these emotions”. For all the differences in the process, Love’s Holiday is still very much an Oxbow record. Across its ten tracks, Love’s Holiday can feel feverish, disorienting, hostile, beguiling, defeated and triumphant.
Love’s Holiday will be released on July 21st via Ipecac Recordings. Pre-orders are now available here.
Photo credit: Phil Sharp