Oxygen Thief is a solo project from Barry Dolan hailing from Bristol, UK, which is suitably on the same label as Frank Turner due to their similar folk/punk style. Though, Dolan features a great deal more of the gritty punk sound than the more melodic folk sound. So for those looking for something a little bit heavier… Read on.
That punk sound shines through in full force on this latest release through Xtra Mile Recordings. It opens with the track ‘The Incredible Sulk,’ which features an acoustic guitar with Dolan’s British accent piercing through before the rest of the band comes crashing in with a heavy and high pitched guitar riff which adds real weight to the song. The mixing up of rhythms and the duel layered vocals fill the song out and stops it sounding in any way, shape, or form repetitive.
Many songs on the album follow the same system of dipping between full on riffs and grooves and simple guitar and vocal bridge. Another great example of this being used is the track ‘Too Many Trees.’ This track features frequent sudden breaks before the very sharp reintroduction of the beat.
Though many songs feature the same ferocious punk tone, there are some songs on the album which really take it in a different direction such as the track ‘Bench Press Your IQ,’ which mixes that heavy punk sound with a very melodic guitar tone that nicely follows Dolan’s voice.
One thing that makes Oxygen Thief stand out so much rests in Dolan’s voice. His southern accent and staccato delivery of his lyrics allow them to really stand out above the music and not get overwhelmed, similar to former label mate Reuben.
However, some songs can get a bit tiring due to the seemingly lack of a consistent structure and the drums can often be difficult to keep track of because of how unpredictable some of the beats are.
But all in all, if you are someone looking for hard British rock that explores different time signatures and features some fantastically catchy and tattoo-able lyrics, then Oxygen Thief may just be the band for you.
The Half Life of Facts is out on Xtra Mile Recordings June 16th and available for pre-order here.
Catch Oxygen Thief on tour with Möngöl Hörde
through the UK this month.
June 19 BIRMINGHAM The Institute
June 20 NEWCASTLE Academy 2
June 21 LEEDS Cockpit
June 22 BRISTOL The Fleece
June 23 PORTSMOUTH Wedgewood Rooms
June 25 LONDON The Garage
June 27NOTTINGHAM Rock City
June 28 MANCHESTER Academy 3
June 29 GLASGOW King Tuts