He Whose Ox Is Gored – The Camel, The Lion, The Child (Premiere)
I spent a whole lot of time waiting on Seattle’s He Whose Ox Is Gored. The quartet’s sound stimulates multiple pleasure centers: the sweetness of post-grunge psychedelia courtesy of keyboardist and singer Lisa Mungo as well as the muscular Botch-ish groove that few outside the Pacific Northwest can produce.
Trouble is they didn’t really sock it to me. Their first EP, Nightshade teased, but never hit a climax. The Rumors 7″ left me similarly frustrated.
Their debut album, The Camel, The Lion, The Child flirts as well, but also indulges with a bit of ecstasy. Just one year since their last release, the band has found its strong suit—melody. Guitarist Brian McClelland in particular has a gift for the kind of arpeggios that made Mastodon my favorite band for a while there—Which makes sense, since Matt Bayles, who produced Leviathan, mixed this record. Bayles also assisted on the first Alice in Chains record, and sometimes the group’s use of two voices, one sour one sweet, stems from a similar place.
Mcclelland’s interplay with Mungo, particularly on tracks like “Zelatype,” hearken back to a time when balladry often sat side-by-side with pummeling riffs. On The Camel, The Lion, The Child, He Whose Ox Is Gored have taken a collection of tools which even they once struggled to find creativity in, and created a record that sounds modern, but with the sonic sensibilities of the aughts and the songwriting acumen of the early 90’s. They’re throwing crosses. They’re spinning the bottle.
They’re making memories.
Catch He Whose Ox Is Gored on tour.
10/20 Missoula MT @ Zootown Arts
10/21 Billings, MT @ Aesthetic Agony Tattoo
10/22 Fargo, ND @ New Direction
10/23 Minneapolis @ The Riverboat
10/24 Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s Live
10/25 Louisville, KY @ Magnolia Bar
10/26 Atlanta, GA @ TBA
10/27 New Orleans, LA @ Sisters in Christ
10/28 Austin, TX @ Mohawk
10/29 Houston TX @ The Alley Kat
10/30 Denton, TX @ Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios
11/1 Tempe, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room
11/3 Glendale, CA @ Complex
11/4 Santa Cruz, CA @ Blue Lagoon
11/5 San Francisco, CA @ Thee Parkside
11/6 Sacramento, CA @ Cafe Colonial
11/7 Portland, OR @ The Know
11/8 Grandview, WA @ Le Voyeur Cafe and Lounge
This article has been updated to include more tour dates.