We Are The Ocean – Ark – 11/05/15
Close your eyes for a moment and picture a blind man walking through the most beautiful garden. A feeling rushes through his mind and bursts into life as for the first time he sees everything. The intense colours and almost violent reality of the world. Then he settles into the light and the calm comes back.
You’ll be thinking, has he gone mad? If you had listened to the opening 15 seconds of We Are the Ocean’s ground-breaking new album ‘Ark’ you’ll know exactly what I’m babbling on about. The title-track off the 4th studio album, starts as it means to go on. The flicker between 5/4 and 6/8 offers a savage sense of creativity in what can only be described as a rebirth for the Essex based four-piece.
In and out of falsetto and wrenching vocals backed with strings and choral voices that add colour and flare you’re gripped and strapped in for the ride. Along with lyrical dexterity I’m blown away by the offering being proposed. How can you possibly keep this up for a full album?
Moving through the album you can feel the effort that has gone into the album ‘I Wanna Be’ screams into sight with hoarse vocals to boot. The flavour of this album is refined like a fine whisky, the time and expertise that has been poured in has created a barrel that We Are the Ocean fans won’t have tasted and should also bring in fresh ears.
‘Good For You’ poses a piano/guitar driven journey with each accompanying element finding it’s place effortlessly. Liam Crosby’s vocals perking my ears and inspiring an involuntary hum-along.
We remain in 5th gear for single ‘Do It Together’ that smashes it’s furious head through your door telling you all about that heart-breaker we all know far too well. I can’t help but picture a bar fight during this song, if you asked me for an explanation I’d honestly just pass you a pair of headphones and say “Shh child, listen.”
Shere Kahn offers the middle child of the album, slightly scruffy and angry as hell with feedback and guitar scrapes left in tact. The edges sure as hell weren’t cut off this one.
We’re offered a breather in a very Jeff Buckley/Nick Drake coloured pair of tunes with ‘Hope You’re Well’ and ‘Letter to Michael.’ Letter to Michael is a raw piece with nothing but Liam and a finger-picking guitar. An honest song wearing it’s heart on it’s sleeve.
The lights come back up and the air feels crisp again as we descend into the final stretch of the album. ‘Holy Fire’ with it’s chorus that takes you to the elements of the band on the outer atmosphere of the earth looking down on creation. A chiselled article that is lyrically sound and humble in its gargantuan size.
It’s always tough to keep the attention of listeners within a generation of 6 second videos and 140 characters. Yet this album will have your eyes, ears and mind locked right through to the wire. ‘Wild’ pursues the venture for a strong finish to the album. If you’re still with me at this point you’ll likely be as satisfied as I am.
For a moment I thought I was listening to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers as we delve into some Californian style rhythmic funk in the form of ‘There’s Nothing Wrong.’
A marathon of an album that loses no steam, the persistence in a epicosity (I made up a word, handle it) is a truly admirable venture. WATO have managed to create an album with refined nature whilst exploding in raw physicality and savage technicality. ‘The Midnight Law’ and ‘Remember To Remember Them’ only consolidate this.
Led Zeppelin? Muse? Jeff Buckley? Nick Drake?
This is We Are The Ocean.
Review – Will Paddison