Over a year ago we were being told to keep an eye on a fresh yet very loud Essex band named We are the Ocean, whose debut album Cutting our Teeth became an instant post-hardcore gem upon release, even when the point felt laboured with its track bolstered reissue nine months later.
Now a remarkably refined and redirected attempt at making noise comes in the form of Go Now and Live, their latest release which juggles improvement and exhilaration, albeit with a little indignity.
A superb start comes in the form of Trouble is Temporary, Time is Tonic, opening with the ear shattering shouts of clean singer and rhythm guitarist Liam Cromby, its unwavering rhythm of high over-dived guitar and diversely presented vocals the template by which this album was built upon. What’s instantly clear on the first change over is how intrinsically each song is meant to fade into the next, and whilst first single What It Feels Like may have felt a little weak, in the grand scheme of the 9 pieces it’s partnered with you’ll find yourself growing attached to its subtle, energetic delivery.
Undoubtedly the centrepiece is second single The Waiting Room, it’s exquisite build up and interwoven sung verse a highly addictive concoction, though compared to everything else it’s minor key setting and avoidance of uplifting chords, rifts and lyricism definitely make it the closest to their previous LP. It may, as always, be a sore point with the devotees as the band’s genre now comes sorely under question, yet never the less it’s a steer in the right direction as far as quality and composition goes.
The undisputed highlight was and still is Cromby’s vocals: where did this guy come from and why doesn’t he have a solo career yet?! Though this review has avoided the unfair and overused comparison to fellow hardcore players Alexisonfire I’d like to draw on it for positive effect in likening Cromby to Dallas Green, sharing the same likeability and fantastic range (though his attempt at a low voice in Now and Then is a little awkward). Harsh vocalist Dan Brown has taken huge strides to improve his pipes, and whilst it can no longer be described as inconsistent screaming occasionally It takes on a gargling quality, but as final track Before I Die demonstrates he’s more than capable of adopting the guise of a competent singer.
The biggest blemish on the album put bluntly has to be the song writing itself. Some individual tracks come across as vague at best, and at worst meaningless. The occasional cheesy line also aids in creating a sound not too dissimilar from a rock and roll musical; you can almost picture the young and good looking actors dancing to certain portions.
Boasting an excellent evolution in instrumental construction and some truly top notch vocals Go Now and Live will leave your ears searing in talent, even if you preferred the rawness of its predecessor. Keep an eye on Rhythm Circus for an interview with the band and coverage on their London show at the end of April.
Go Now And Live is out April 25th.
for more info, check out the bands myspace: We Are The Ocean