Non Canon – Non Canon (Xtra Mile Recordings)

Genre – Folk Rock

Another album, another name – folk rock star Barry Dolan, previously Oxygen Thief, has returned with a new album and a new name. In line with the rebranding there’s a distinct sense that there’s an improvement in lyrics and arrangements as Dolan sets out to create something completely different and challenge himself to get out of his comfort zone.

Previously, Dolan’s work was fairly one-dimensional: a man and his guitar, with a stripped back rawness that made for an excellent set of songs – but a limited set at that.

Returning as Non Canon, Dolan has introduced a wider selection of instruments, harmonies and some delicious wordplay to create an album that will be loved by fans of Will Varley, Esme Patterson and Franz Nicolay.

Non Canon has brought Dolan back to his acoustic roots but has given him a new license to create slower, sad songs – the songs he said he would never do as Oxygen Thief.

This is no more prevalent than in the incredible Eponymous with the ironic chorus of ‘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’. This chorus, combined with the undertone of the electric cello, which is strummed throughout to create a brilliant sense of expectation, has led to the album’s real standout track. It’s a song the most accomplished of folk rock musicians would be proud of.

Much like Eponymous, the change in style is echoed in Home Alone 3. With a chorus of ‘Sometimes life plays you slow songs you just can’t skip’, Dolan shows how he has grown during the last 10 years. It’s ironic from a man who once said ‘I don’t listen to slow songs and I’d never play them!’.

Incorporating a mixture of guitars, strings and piano throughout this Non Canon debut, Dolan has created an excellent album that is a far cry from the ‘loud riffy stuff’ he became known for during his tenure as Oxygen Thief.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 I’m Not Admitting Defeat!