Released June 22, 2012 (Escape Music)
01. Janitor Of Love
02. Anything For You
03. When Tomorrow Never Comes
04. I Remember
05. Gold From The Future
06. We Must Fight
07. I Wanna Know For Sure
08. Bring Back The Joy
09. Best Days Of Our Lives
Tony Niva – vocals
Roger Ljunggren – guitar
Bengan Andersson – drums
Marcus Persson – keyboards and backing vocals
Swedish outfit Oxygen is the brainchild of singer Tony Niva, and if implausibly soaring vocals and stabbing rhythm guitars coupled with the furious fret-shredding of Roger Ljunggren were Olympic sports then these guys would be podium stars. Niva has some pedigree going back to 1987 with metal act Zanity and was prolific on the local Swedish scene with the likes of The Malibu Band, Tracy Goes Crazy and Axia.
There’s no doubt that Tony Niva can write a tune and the full AOR recipe is present and correct here, almost in perfect measures — maybe too perfect. “Janitor Of Love” has ‘burning hearts’, “Anything For You” has Niva asking, well… if ‘there is anything he can do’ and the utterly dire “I Remember” has our man having a good go at a tear jerking Journey ballad (well there is a burning star on the cover after all) complete with tinkling intro and mysteriously vanishing lady friend. “You” is a slightly better attempt at the genre with Ljunggren‘s brief solo offering the only emotionally charged moment here, but by the time we get to “Bring Back The Joy”, well… you really couldn’t agree more.
Vocally Tony Niva has an enviable range and he has a band of competent, if rather dull, musicians around him. However, it’s one thing to replicate a sound and a concept, in this case right down to the album’s artwork, and quite another to ‘capture’ it and plot a new course. Few succeed and unfortunately Oxygen have just run out of air.
www.facebook.com/oxygentheband – www.escape-music.com
Reviewed by Mark Redmayne for Sleaze Roxx, November 2012