Authority Zero – Ollie Ollie Oxen Free
Released: 18 June 2021
Jason DeVore // vocals
Chris Dalley // drums
Mike Spero // bass
Eric Walsh // guitar
Authority Zero are one of those bands who, in Australia at least, people know and like, or people haven’t heard of. And that is a damn shame as they are one of the hardest working and consistent punk bands out there. Ollie Ollie Oxen Free, their eighth studio album, is a rocking, melodic compilation of songs that can’t help but put you in a good mood.
Opening with the title track, which was originally released back in February, ‘Ollie Ollie Oxen Free’ starts with a call to arms for people to come out and play, so to speak, after the awfulness that has been the last year or so. With a driving drum beat and full guitar riffs, the song is catchy with a chorus fans can sing along to. ‘Nowheres Land’ continues in a similar manner; fast, furious with new member Eric Walsh (of Pour Habit fame) showing off his impressive guitar skills. Maintaining the upbeat tempo, and Chris Dalley’s rolling drumbeat, ‘The Good Fight’ follows with its message of hope.
‘Fire Off Another’, from the recent EP release, keeps up a steady pace, but allows Devore’s voice to shine with the memorable chorus “I’m right, you’re wrong, we can do this all day long, fire off another round…” with the bridge adding another texture to the song. ‘Ear To Ear’ featuring Iagri Shuhei from Japanese punk band HEY-SMITH, adds a ska/reggae feel to the overall production, with the verses brilliant for skanking/ dancing, and the chorus to mosh to. It is a song with a multitude of musical styles thrown in, including Shuhei’s vocals, and it works so bloody well.
‘The Back Nine’ takes a step back and is a straight up harmonic skate punk rock song, with some great melodies. Opening with a drum beat, ‘Fully Operational’ is a laidback reggae infused song, that would sit quite comfortably next to the several of Authority Zero’s back catalogue of songs (including but not limited to the second half of 2017’s Broadcasting to the Nations album or parts of A Passage In Time). ‘Seas and Serpents’ is not as fast or heavy as some of the other tracks on the album, but the contrast of sounds during the bridge, elevates the song’s appeal.
Stripping things right back, with an acoustic guitar, ‘A New Day’ is a haunting song, and lets the power of Jason Devore, and the backing vocals take front and centre. ‘Don’t Tear Me Down’ will be a big favourite for punk fans, as it features Jim Lindberg from Pennywise, and is basically a Pennywise song in its sound and execution (which is by no means an insult). ‘Have You Ever’ follows, resuming with the catchy singalong chorus.
The penultimate song ‘For What It’s Worth’ picks up the tempo with its refrain of “I know you hurt…” Rounding off the album is ‘Bruiser’ a song about mental health, grief and loss, its brilliance is in instilling a sense of hope in its listeners, despite the challenges that life throws our way.
If you have been sleeping on Authority Zero you need to rectify that immediately. Ollie Ollie Oxen Free is the band’s strongest musical outing, since the ingenious Broadcasting To The Nations, and is a perfect encapsulation who and what the band is about.
Authority Zero – Ollie Ollie Oxen Free tracklisting
1. Ollie Ollie Oxen Free
2. Nowheres Land
3. The Good Fight
4. Fire Off Another
5. Ear To Ear (featuring Iagri Shuhei of HEY-SMITH)
6. The Back Nine
7. Fully Operational
8. Seas and Serpents
9. A New Day
10. Don’t Tear Me Down (featuring Jim Lindberg of Pennywise)
11. Have You Ever
12. For What Its Worth