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  • David Bentley

Oxen – Buy a Dog (single from forthcoming album)

Oxen were one of the first bands I ever reviewed out of Scandinavia and I vaguely remember trying to get them fixed up with a gig in Manchester. Unfortunately the venue had already booked someone else for the night in question but told me honestly they wished they hadn’t, because they are by all accounts a stonking live band.

(The first NMR review of them, in July 2016, was equally flattering about their debut EP).

The Swedish duo, once a trio, made their debut at the popular Where’s the Music festival in southern Sweden, a few years ago. I can’t say they’ve gone from strength to strength since then but they’ve developed a devoted following and have made a big breakthrough in Germany.

The last new song we were aware of was ‘Dark and Depressive’, which we reviewed and I concluded regretfully that they didn’t nail down a tune as well as they usually do but then again with a title like that what do you expect?

This one is also from their untitled album, which they began recording in November last year, joking on social media that it would take a year before they heard the finished item. They weren’t joking.

They don’t have a big product so along with this track on Spotify you’ll find nine others including at least some of those on the eponymous EP we reviewed four years ago.

As far as melody is concerned the boys are definitely back on track with this song, which rattles along at the pace of a greyhound race and the chorus in particular will stick in your mind. But it’s the way Eric Hases sings it as well. He could be Morrissey on one of those very occasional days when he isn’t dark and depressive and has got out of bed on the right side and the whole thing has got a sort of whiney Manc feel to it. There’s a striking contribution too from guitar, bass and drums as well as Hases’ distinctive vocal.

Perhaps I should revisit that gig request when we finally get up and running again.

Their PR regularly described them as “Sweden's new indie pioneers” when they first came to my attention and that debut EP easily classified them accordingly. I was beginning to wonder on the basis of the last single release but with this one they’ve laid claim once again to that accolade.

Find them on Facebook.


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