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Oxygen Thief - Destroy It Yourself (Album Review)

Thursday, 12 May 2011 Written by Jonny Rimmer
Oxygen Thief - Destroy It Yourself (Album Review)

“This morning kicked me in the shins” exclaims singer-songwriter Barry Dolan on the closer to 'Destroy It Yourself', the debut Oxygen Thief record, and if there was ever an album to kick me in the shins when waking up then this was definitely it.

This is anthemic chaos on a disc, and a thoroughly refreshing take on the ‘folk-punk’ genre. Dolan has the same potency to his lyrics as fellow shouty troubadour Frank Turner, but vocally is actually stronger and more soulful, echoing Jamie Lenman (Reuben) at his angriest and brutally honest.  
The overall sound showcased will be completely unexpected to most casual listeners. Though the record is almost entirely a Dolan solo acoustic act, the guitar lines are intensely heavy and wouldn’t sound out of place on a psyched out Nirvana-Patton collaboration.  
Image‘Mestle & Portar’, ‘Camera Shy’ and ‘Languages Our Specialism’ are good examples of melodic vocals and memorable lyrics being played over harshly dissonant, albeit resolving musical sequences that are as unpredictable and time-bending as they are passionate. There’s also a couple of instrumental tracks, both of which roll along like an uncomfortable but utterly thrilling train journey.

Even the excesses on here come across as awfully Punk Rock, and 'Destroy It Yourself' will not induce swathes of delight among everyone. As Dolan points out himself though, “Accidents do not happen, they are caused”. Everything on here is deliberate; nothing stretches out too far, and for every interesting friction, there’s always a frantically melodic declaration.  
Fans of heavier music might ask, why not just bring in some other instruments? Overall, you get the impression that you’d just ruin the tone by adding too many drum lines and/or distorted moments to the fray. So my recommendation is not to destroy this debut yourself with such queries, but appreciate Oxygen Thief for what it is: an innovative and fresh piece of work.  

Album Rating: 9/10

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