Lloyd Meadows – Oxford Synthesiser Club

“Oxford Synthesiser Club” is an 18-minute, 6-track EP / Mini LP that offers an interesting take on the widely influential orchestral period of The Beatles, circa “Sgt. Pepper’s.” The opening track, “Lost And Lonely,” particularly echoes the “Strawberry Fields Forever” sound and feel. What sets this album apart from many artists who have found similar inspiration is that the songs feature primarily lead vocals, and that the background vocals that do exist are low in the mix. This creates a stark contrast to the orchestral backdrop…both sounds actually coexist within single tracks. Imagine, if you will, the John Lennon of his first Plastic Ono Band album, collaborating with the George Martin Sgt. Pepper’s studio musicians. It’s a combination that never happened, but to degree, it does happen here.

There are also subtle touches of American “Soft Rock” a la America, and British 80s vocal bands, keeping things on the melancholy side without drifting too far into some of the more melodramatic tendencies of bands such as The Smiths and Spandau Ballet, while still employing some of their signature dynamics.

“Oxford Guitar Club” consists primarily of lead vocals, chiming electric guitar, sparse bass & drums, with a subtle synth accent. “73” is laid back, a simple song that builds in volume and intensity as it reaches its climax.

“A+ Mirror” is the liveliest track on the album, and despite the additional instrumentation, a clean, ringing electric guitar is still the centerpiece.

“Oxford Synthesiser Club” is noteworthy due to its ability to draw its inspiration and energy from multiple, well-known sources, without becoming shackled by them and mired into a single, easily defined sound. It’s open-ended and filled with free-form inspiration.