"Wildheart", the first full-length offering from Portland, OR-based rock quartet, Lost Ox, is both reflective and prescriptive in its nature, representing years of accumulated songs and musical stories and simultaneously calcifying a roadmap for the band's further growth and exploration. Like the band, the album cannot be encapsulated into one genre or one mood, and defies simple thematic explanation. It is, like many albums, a collage of histories, interwoven and interspersed amongst each other, all the meanings confused and corroborated, all the conclusions both simultaneous and singular.
Sometimes exuberant, sometimes melancholy, the album takes many turns; the music billowed by lofty ascending chords to tight and incisive climaxes only to be rapidly spun southward to a dissonant, chromatic stalagtite with a punchy foot-moving rhythm part. The next song’s cool, funky feel seems a world to itself, independent of the preceding madness, until the end, when the improvisational portion of the song rapidly cascades to a similarly moving height, recalling the vibrant nature of the previous tunes.
The dramatic variety is a hallmark of the band, birthed in early 2017 from the vibrant music scene of Portland, OR. Like the various facets of the scene in Portland--bouncing from gutter punk-rock to airy Burning Man-esque tribal bass music, or from cowboy-boot wearing country rockers to neo-funk psychedelic shredders--the music of Lost Ox can't quite be put into one hat. And, just like the scene itself, is something only to be experienced.
Lost Ox is Reed Bunnell (bass, vocals), Dylan DiSalvio (guitar, vocals), Mark Mullen (keyboards, vocals), and Mike Stavish (drum kit, percussion). “Travelin’ Blues” with Sydney Nash on slide guitar.
Recorded and mixed by Justin Phelps at The Hallowed Halls in Portland, OR. Mastered by Jack Yaguda in New York, NY. Produced by Lost Ox.
Front cover art by Amber Anderson (@love_embargo). Back cover art by Cara Sheahan (@carasheahan.art)
Special thanks to Greg Allen, Ido Avraham, Joel Davis, Kari Goldstein, The Goodfoot Pub & Lounge, The Starday Tavern, and Pieper Cafe