We Are The Ocean

Cutting Our Teeth

Written by: DR on 03/02/2010 19:23:32

When it comes to hyping up small bands to farcical heights, the British music press trumps all. We Are The Ocean are one of the latest examples of this, and they should chalk their already successful career, thus far, off to that hype that's been generated. It's enabled them to travel around the world on tour, including snazzy places such as Australia and the USA, to play at the Bamboozle Festival, where only a handful of British bands have been invited to. This was on two EPs worth of material, too. Of course, my being too underground awesome, as many others were, meant I didn't bite on Kerrang's bait. I've grown up a smidgen since then, and have realised that I should drop all prejudices against Alexisonfire's biggest tribute act, and take them seriously as a group. Hell, if the legend that is Brian McTernan can be roped into producing this, it's the least I can do, right?

The smoke has settled, the rock press has since removed the training wheels; they are weaning them off breast milk and on to a man's drink; mother crow has done all she can, and if they want to succeed, now is the time for them to take metaphorical flight. "Cutting Our Teeth", as an album title is fighting talk. They're serious, they mean business. However, thirty seconds is all it takes for WATO to knock out every pre-breakdowncore-post-hardcore cliché in opener "Look Alive" - which must be some sort of record? Attempts to balance the fast-paced drums with melodic guitar-tapping, the screams overlapping singing, the chorus' being the main focal point for songs etcetcetc. What could make this worse? Well, Dan Brown claiming in vain "I don't want to be like everyone else" might just do the trick.

I've just realised, a few sentences ago I implied Dan Brown was a screamer. I've misled you, my apologies, because he cannot scream. Aspiring scenesters, take note, Dan Brown might just be Jesus. The J-man died in order to save us, in a similar fashion, Dan Brown vocal chords appear to have taken the bullet for young screamers everywhere. Years of touring and not learning to how scream properly have taken their toll, which is what happens when you neglect to care for your br00tal voice. He used to sound sharp and precise (well, he was at least in that ball-park) but his vocals now sound like distorted shorts, which are completely devoid of the passion and aggression required to make one overlook such technical shortcomings. Liam Cromby, the clean vocals, spends most of the album impersonating Dallas Green, except with more croon-age. Despite this, which some will surely scoff at, he genuinely can sing. The opening of "Are You Proud of Me Now?", as Cromby cries "So, ARE YOU PROUD OF ME NOOOOW?" is the only moment on the album that genuinely excites, and that's purely down to Cromby's powerful delivery. In fact, on pretty much every track, it's his endeavours that carry the song. Helped further by the fact the musicianship has been relegated to the back; the band are capable musicians, if a little unadventurous, and their playing skills deserve slightly more attention by Mr. McTernan.

This is nothing less than a decent debut: it's polished, adequate and at times technical, but because it conforms strictly to a dying genre, it could never be anything more than just decent. Time after time, it has been done before, bigger, better and with more balls. "These Days, I Have Nothing" and "Are You Proud of Me Now?" are proof that not all hope is lost. Though straightforward, are catchy enough to hold your attention for a longer period than a passing glance. The biggest disappointment is that the thought of ambition is one these guys seem scared of. Being a little braver by experimenting a bit more can go a long way, and even if you don't quite pull it off, you will be lauded for your attempts, and sooner or later you will get it right. Then, and only then, could you have something special. We Are The Ocean may indeed by cutting their teeth, but they're still not sharp enough to do any real damage. Don't believe the hype.

6

Download: These Days, I Have Nothing; Are You Proud of Me Now?
For The Fans Of: Yashin, The Blackout, Alexisonfire, Our Last Night
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 1.02.2010
Hassle Records

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