Xtra Mile Recordings will release the self-titled album by Non Canon, another side of Barry Dolan AKA Oxygen Thief. It is out on 28 October 2016 on vinyl, CD and download, pre-order links are below.
Non Canon exists apart from the story we know and love. A concurrent storyline, a different perspective, the world we experience through someone else’s eyes; familiar but insightful for its new dimension.
In another life entirely, Non Canon gathers maelstroms of guitar noise and feeds them with caustic, yelled, (a)stringent sentences, calling himself Oxygen Thief. Having spent ten years deftly swerving expectation at every measure as Oxygen Thief, Non Canon turns things on their head again. He threads cello where there may have once been feedback, places a third chord where two key changes could have lain, and repeats a chorus line where a scream may have broken the silence instead. He’s returned to his acoustic beginning, that’s true, but he’s torn that up and refused to retain his previous self-taught lessons.
‘Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye’ sets out the manifesto: “I’m afraid of sad songs, afraid of what they’ll do…so I made a firm decision that I’d hardly ever listen and I’d never sing them to myself or you.” But we’re through the looking glass, and what he’s afraid of is now what drives him. As if in defiance of the sad song, fiddles create eddies through repeatedly chiming guitar, a cello building underneath for maximum undertow. ‘Eponymous’ sticks flags in this untouched territory, boldly declaring “I’ve got reservations, I’m not sure I’ll get away with this, I’ve got no expectations, I’m not sure my heart is even in this” – we couldn’t be further from the bold, antisocial thrash of his other self. Deliberating on a blank book alongside a collection of prolific authors (‘A Study in Emerald’), daydreaming about him and his wife meeting younger (‘Crayola’), and memorised reality versus physical and mental regeneration (‘Memory Beta’), Non Canon charms a narrative and converses with considered wordplay.
“It started as a little challenge to myself to see if I could write something other than the loud riffy stuff I’ve always done with Oxygen Thief and previous bands I was in,” says Barry. “It’s kind of snowballed from there really – I never really expected it to be anything other than a bunch of songs I could look at with a sense of achievement at finishing, and then I’d get on with the next OT record.” Having received support from close friends, his wife and Xtra Mile, he set about recording in February 2016 with some of the songs done at home and some in OneCat Studio in Brixton. All the strings, piano and drums were written on an iPad before being sent to musicians to learn and play on recordings. Chris T-T’s piano playing stand out on ‘Bad Twin’, while Ben Marwood and Charlie Barnes (a touring member of Bastille) contributed backing vocals, along with Gareth from My First Tooth playing drums, and the guitarist from Barry’s first ever band playing violin and viola.
Non Canon is a new story, but it’s a story of its own, one that we will soon know and love with its own history, character and setting.
Tour dates – more to be confirmed: