Oxygen Thief – The Half-Life of Facts

The Half-Life of FactsBarry Dolan is probably the loudest acoustic act you'll ever see. His stage moniker Oxygen Thief has, for so long, been built around drop-D tuned metal riffs on an acoustic guitar, with his Doc Martens stamping away on various effects pedals. But as of late 2013, a new era Oxygen Thief has emerged; one armed with a Les Paul and backed by a mean rhythm section. Oxygen Thief is now a full band project, and their full-length debut The Half-Life of Facts is upon us.

The Half-Life of Facts actually begins with a typical Oxygen Thief introduction. A witty, maudlin acoustic minute leads into "The Incredible Sulk", which explodes in the breakdown-ridden manner many who've heard 2013's debut EP Accidents Do Not Happen They Are Caused would expect.

The three-piece are punchy, raucous and intelligent throughout. Dolan's lyrics are always a joy to behold and he's on top form with this release, which offers a seemingly cynical look at the world and spawns the phrases, "as good things only seem to come to those who take" and "I threw myself at the ground but completely failed to miss".

There's a step up in the production of The Half-Life of Facts that gives the album an extra edge over its 7-track predecessor; the guitars are punchier and the cymbals louder. The fuller, more rounded sound gives this album an air of professionalism that cements its place as a serious piece of music from a musician who's been around the block enough times to get his break. However, it's worth noting that despite the increase in 'polish', this album has been left alone enough to still sound rough around the edges. Oxygen Thief comes across as a proper alt-rock band who chug their way through 12 tracks in around 40 minutes.

Worth a notable mention are anti-right wing tracks "Con.scrip.shun." and its 15 second brother "It's Life Jim, But Not As We Know It". Both have intelligent and current lyrics that will strike a chord with any sane person who can see through Nigel Farage's public charade. Closer "Loch Ness Monster Truck" is also a belter, a math-noise instrumental two-and-a-half minutes that closes out the album to perfection.

The Half-Life of Facts is a very good effort for what is essentially Oxygen Thief's second debut - his solo debut came in the form of Destroy It Yourself, out in 2011. The tracks are engaging and emphatic and the impact instant. There are no airs and graces with Dolan as a lyricist or the band as a noisy whole. With this album out there, Oxygen Thief can no longer be referred to as an artist or a band with potential. They're here, they're loud, and we'd better get used to it.

Release: 16th June 2014, Xtra Mile


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