With no guitar player and no inhibition, the jazz-punk-prog-grindcore duo Oaf stumble their way out of your headphones like a mangy, howling, overweight mongrel in a circus show. This album is a journey into the gross and obnoxious, with Dom Lawson’s filthy bass tone and horrifying lyrics conjuring and celebrating visions of decay and apathy, while drummer James Rayment keeps you on your toes with rhythms more akin to a progressive jazz troop than a punk rock or extreme metal band. The result is a sound quite unlike anything else out there, that with either repulse you or suck you in with its unapologetic approach. Surprise guest appearances from musicians across the genre spectrum keep you guessing, but you can guarantee that whatever comes next will be sickly and disgusting. It may sound utterly appalling, but it’s put together with a tact and sophistication that keeps Birth, School, Oaf, Death from simply being an exercise in abhorrence. It’s a unique, attention grabbing and highly entertaining release, which reeks of middle age dissent and middle class outrage, and is as classy as it is shameless in its self-deprecation and outspoken hatred of all earthly things.
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