The Lay Of The Land; The Turn Of The Tide

When singer Frederick Blood-Royale was in a scuzzy indie band Les Incompetents he wore a skinny tie and cardigans. Now that he’s in a doom-laden organ-rock band of mini-Nick Caves, however, he wears black floppy hats and braces. Still, you’re allowed to be pretentious and contrived if you’re good, and Ox.Eagle are very good. They’re also morbidly serious, with their Blair Witch-via Liars clatter growled upon by Blood-Royale’s throaty musings about crossbows, the voices of the dead, ghost horses and the kind of things you might find lurking in Alton Towers’ haunted house prop cupboard.

Thankfully, on this five-track EP, for every special moan about corpses there’s a blustery chorus more melodic than anything Les Inc ever coughed up. So, while they might be forming a triangle of coffin-confined horror-rock along with buddies and apparent tailor-sharers The Horrors and Ipso Facto (a member of whom has recently been sharing saliva with one of Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man’s ranks, Hoxton gossip fans!), it’s these guys who look most likely to remain flittering around your brain like a vampire bat. Because while The Horrors are happy concentrating on honing their DJ sets for private PR parties with Peaches Geldof (an ex-squeeze of Blood-Royale), the likes of ‘Where Dead Voices Gather’ and ‘These Are The Names’ are licked wet with surgery-sharp hooks absent from their partners-in-mire’s own racket. Not that it’d be enough to make them smile, mind.

Jamie Fullerton