Oxygen Thief: One Day This Will All Be Fields – ep review
Oxygen Thief: One Day This Will All Be Fields (Xtra Mile)
Oxygen Thief has become the hottest new ticket on Xtra Mile. His single, Terry Nutkins Salute, taken from the album Accidents Don’t Happen, They Are Caused seemed to fill the giant chasm in the heart of heavily distorted jerky UK post-hardcore fans after Reuben decided to sell up shop and buy the farm.
But Oxygen Thief began with just one man, Barry Dolan, playing this same unsettling style of music on nothing but an acoustic guitar and blowing the minds of many acoustic punk gig attendees. One Day This Will All Be Fields sees Dolan return to his unique acoustic roots.
This EP once again clarifies exactly what I thought when Oxygen Thief first began to make a name for their/himself. If you’re looking for a musical version of the old Marmite “love it or hate it” cliché then listening to the acoustic Oxygen Thief is exactly that. Personally I’m in the love camp, regardless of the fact that anything that doesn’t sound like yet another dullard in the constant stream of Frank Turner tribute acoustic singer/songwriters instantly gets my attention piqued, Oxygen Thief’s ability to create the energy of a full band recording with just a hollow piece of wood by use of aggressive strumming techniques, fast paced vocals, and a downright bizarre use of effect pedals not only makes his sound unique but is done with such skill that it’s surprising that this music isn’t making a much larger impact on the UK music scene.
Single Badge of Dishonour is a prime example of how Dolan plays with rhythms and guitar techniques as if they were nothing but cheap Kinder Egg toys, whilst the video itself gives insight to the man’s vast musical influences by means of a variety of shirts and jackets. And though Self-Righting Mechanism feels like a more obvious single choice for mass marketing his sound, being the poppiest on the EP (plus I personally fucking love hand claps), the choice of the former allows a first time listener to be drawn into the centre of Oxygen Thief’s gravity from the get go.
All words by Ian Critchley. More writing by Ian on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive.