Oxford County Circus Oxford County Circus

Southern Ontarians the Oxford County Circus are one of those bands who are hard to pin down. They don't just ape one musical style in the same way that so many other bands do, yet they don't quite manage to meld their various influences convincingly. It does make for an interesting hodgepodge, though, that could never be called dull - there's a rootsy feel to the songs, with a bit of more conventional rock and pop thrown in for good measure. For a debut, there's a lot of stuff here - 15 songs that cover a lot of ground, and you can't fault the ambition. One of the biggest problems is while the band knows their way around their instruments, they sound inexperienced in the studio - despite the fact this is a CD, it comes across more like a demo tape. That doesn't mean it is without any merit because there are some catchy tunes here, but maybe if they had some better production then the songs would end up with some sheen and focus rather than some unnecessary synthesiser and meandering around in the realm of needless guitar noodling. (Independent)