Published on May 9th, 2011 | by Clara Cullen
FREE DOWNLOAD: Oxygen Thief
Destroy It Yourself
(Broken Tail Records/Josaka Records)
Barry Dolan aka Oxygen Thief is most certainly not your run- of- the mill guy with an acoustic guitar. Now I know what you’re thinking ekkk! Lone acoustic guitar, slight beard, must be the same sappy ‘nu- folk’ you’ve been hearing for the last 3 years. Oh how wrong you are, for Oxygen Thief is an entirely different beast. Say goodbye to the (admittedly brilliant) finger picking, melody laden tunes of say Foy Vance, and hello to abrasive, riff heavy and hard edged songs more akin to Glassjaw than Dylan.
This is no bad thing though, as it blows the stereotype completely out the water and takes you in a totally different direction. It does something that music hasn’t done in many years; it expects you to invest in the songs as a whole in order to get the reward. If you want instant melodic gratification, without ever having to use your brain, then Oxygen Thief is not for you and may I point you in the direction of the Top 40. ‘Destroy It Yourself’ is not an easy listen, on first playing you will most probably react as I did, thinking ‘what the hell did I just hear’. However, the second or third time around, musical gems begin to appear. Songs like ‘Modesty Is Dead’ and ‘Terry Nutkins Salute’ make you head bang whilst whistling the chorus, perfectly mixing ruff dissonant guitars with a melodic major based chorus.
The album at times does get repetitive. The relentless beating on the guitars may well have you wanting just a bit more melodic conventional ‘folk’ songs. But then again, Oxygen Thief is NOT a folk singer. I wouldn’t be shocked to see a scattered demographic of head bangers, cool indie kids and acoustic lovers at an Oxygen Thief show. Upon reflection I can know say ‘Destroy It Yourself’ was an album I never thought I’d like. But for some reason I do, and I think this is probably because it was an album that surprised and challenged me. Now some may say why don’t you just stick to what you know you like? And to that I say: there’s nothing wrong with that, but every so often it’s nice to be reminded that there’s more music out there than just your favourite sub-genre of psychedelic pop punk*. This album was my reminder.
Favourite track: Modesty Is Dead
*disclaimer: Calm down dear, for !@*# sake I know Psychedelic pop punk is not a genre. Yet.
What’s your view? Let us know in the comments section below…