HardReviews 5
by Martin Popoff

Michael Staertow - Oxygen

I don't normally cover indies here, nor stuff that is a year old, but Oxygen deserves a quick thumbs up, Staertow being a Rochester guy who's known somewhat comically as having been in Alice Cooper, Journey, Foreigner and AC/DC tribute bands! But he's also done original stuff and has a number of rock bigshots counted among fans. Most importantly, he's made an impressive (half) album here, Oxygen comprising 11 tracks that sound like a very soulful, intimate cross between King's X, Soundgarden, Extreme, Dokken, Steve Morse and Firehouse (voice), with all the pointy prog ends that each of those artists might visit. Production is fat, vocals lush (Michael also doing a mountain of erudite and emotional back-ups), his guitar tone confidently and comfortably double-wide old school electric. Points removed for the record being 39 minutes with two bits of piffle and two duff tracks (Cry My Name and Honestly), but otherwise... wot a cool guy. Contact Leightonmedia@aol.com for more info.
Rating 7