The Oxford Coma Offers Up a Serious Dose of ‘Morphine’

The Oxford Coma not only has one of the funniest names I’ve heard in a while, they are ball-throbbingly bold.

We’ve been needing raw whimsy in the music world. The Oxford Coma’s upcoming record Morphine to be released in December is nothing short of scarily and noisily gritty and real. And in an accessible way.

The Oxford Coma: Billy Tegethoff, James Williams and Anthony Chamberlain

The Oxford Coma: Billy Tegethoff, James Williams and Anthony Chamberlain

The tracks that stand out on Morphine for me are “Grindstone” and “Black Balloons.” The former captures The Oxford Coma’s exciting live performance mix. The latter conjures Cobain and a night trip through an emotional terrain.

The whole of Morphine vibes heavy, ponderous but excises daily demons, leaving the listener purged. It’s a great record to listen to if you’re having a rough one. The equivalent of musical leeches. An odd, a little ticklishly sticky feel followed by that therapeutic sweet release.

Vocalist Billy Tegethoff describes the record, Morphine is a throwback to Bleach-era Nirvana, eyehategod’s Dopesick and all the Steve Albini/Neurosis records…but we’re not really a metal band. Those records, in my view, were more about attitude than slick production. We recorded Morphine live, mixed it to be raw and aggressive, and intentionally put the vocals on the level with the instruments. It’s not about fucking hooks.”

And you’ll be hard pressed to find anything resembling one. Instead, Morphine’s shape is dark-winged, vivid and satisfyingly galvanizing.

The band has also drawn deeply from their own personal experiences. Loss, grief, death…Tegethoff says that the title track was inspired by watching his grandmother die after “a ten-year slide into dementia.” He was angered at the priest’s condescending summation of her life.

Tegethoff’s “prayer” speaks to the utter bullshit of this notion.