A lot of my friends feel they have a duty to recommend me music. I don't mean to sound conceited, but I'm quite an educated individual when it comes to music of multiple genres. So when a friend suggests something to me, it's more often than not something I've already heard. But if I do have a weak spot in my musical spectrum, it would have to be for imports. While I could blame the Atlantic Ocean for me not hearing of Oceansize earlier, I can't really say there is a specific reason for my tardiness on this brilliant UK group. But I can say that I am glad that a certain friend came through with the best band recommendation I've ever had.
Effloresce starts off on with a beautiful instrumental, "I Am the Morning," showcasing the brilliant guitar work of the groups trio of guitarists: Mike Vennart, Steve Durose, and Gambler. As the guitars fade away, a homing signal slowly creeps up from the bottom of the mix, like that of an approaching torpedo. Then everything goes silent and we jump into "Catalyst," which shows off the versatility of the band. The track opens with some brilliant alternative metal moments that would give A Perfect Circle a run for their money. But mixed in throughout the course of the song are experimental guitar elements that help set aside any direct comparisons to today's rock radio bands. Vennart, who handles the majority of the vocal duties, sounds similar to Incubus front man Brandon Boyd, but by no means is he a carbon copy. "One Day This Could All Be Yours" is a track that follows a similar formula to the latter, containing a lot of elements of music that is heard on the radio. But there are also those additions of spacey-ness that steer the music just to the left of being "straightforward."
My continuing focus on the guitars throughout the albums is by no means meant to take away from the musicianship of the other band members. Mark Herrin's drumming is extremely proficient, never missing a beat, so if you need a good representation of what today's drummers should be able to do check out the last two minutes of "Massive Bereavement." Herrin is phenomenal.
Even though it follows the heavily distorted guitars and fast-paced drumming of the previous track, "Rinsed" doesn't seem out of a place at all. This post-rock interlude blends into the album seamlessly. And just as we moved into that mellow moment, things quickly pick back up with "You Wish," which I consider to be the best track on the album - it's a musical orgasm. The music is just what we need to mix up the monotony that has plagued modern rock music. But like radio rock, this song even has a catchy chorus. That's what makes songs popular on the radio - the hook. You always look for the hook, right? "Remember Where You Are" and "Amputee" stick to the formula of blending post-rock and alternative rock, which Oceansize excel at with ease. "Unravel" is another amazing instrumental interlude, and this one is a bit different than the others. It makes use of a drum-sequence and pianos, which when pieced together with the space-rock guitars are just heaven.
Just when Effloresce couldn't possibly get any better, it does. "Saturday Morning Breakfast Show" is an epic nine-minute masterpiece that hits all the bases and the distortion-heavy ending leaves goose bumps on my arms each time I listen to it. Coupled with the album's closer, "Long Forgotten," another nine-minute plus track, the album rounds out in flawless manner.
It's hard to pinpoint Oceansize into one particular genre, which is what makes them a unique band. While they are an experimental post-rock/space-rock hybrid that a musical elitist, like me, can enjoy without any feelings of guilt, they are also a band that I could see getting popular with people who have lackluster taste in music - just flip to your local rock station to see what I mean. In fact I would be very glad if modern radio picked up a band like this, because at least then the world would be treated to something good for a change.
9.5 / 10
Staying certain to an unspoken pattern of two years between releases, Oceansize has returned to us with their third full-length album. Including the bonus track, Voorhees, Frames clocks in at ...
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