We Are The Ocean

Go Now And Live

Written by: TL on 01/06/2011 14:43:30

Ever since the British quintet We Are The Ocean debuted with their self-titled 2008 EP, rock media in their country has been tripping to pile hype on them. This of course has awakened mild interest from me, but alas, every time time WATO released new material, my findings lead me to the same conclusion: Apart from the remarkable clean refrains of singer/guitarist Liam Cromby, the band's scream-dominated post-hardcore has been entirely middle-of-the-road for the genre, and effectively, I've been hard pressed to readily name more than a song or two of theirs.

Now however, someone seems to have told WATO something similar, because on their new sophomore LP "Go Now And Live", the band has done a 'Deaf Havana' and ditched the screams and hardcore elements, to instead go for a melodic rock style, with singing responsibility resting mainly on the shoulders of the immensely capable Cromby. Unlike Deaf Havana however, WATO haven't gone quite as far as firing founding frontman Dan Brown. Instead he has substituted his screaming for a sort of scratched singing, with which he supports Cromby mostly in verses and bridge sections.

Having a screamer suddenly turn into a singer like this could have gone all kinds of wrong, but much like the recent transformation of Architects singer Sam Carter, the result isn't entirely awful, at least on record. There's still a long way from saying that to saying that Brown's pairing with Cromby doesn't still appear slightly dysfunctional, and while Brown's singing is okay here, I do wonder what his performance of the new material will be like live.

For what it's worth though, the change in direction is one that absolutely helps WATO play to their strengths. While their music is no longer as intense or edgy, more room is given to strong melodies and catchy choruses, and effectively, I'm glad to say that I will at least personally be singing along to at least a small handful of songs from this album, even some time after I submit this review. Here I'm mainly talking about the second single "The Waiting Room", on which the dual vocal arrangement works wonders, making the song a listen-at-your-own-peril kind of catchy. Other numbers, like "Run Away", "What It Feels Like" and "Now And Then" also stand tall, though their success is mostly just a result of solid songwriting, and the ever more impressive pipes of Cromby.

If there are old fans around, who enjoyed WATO's heavier elements, they will likely be disappointed, because at no time during "Go Now And Live", are the band much heavier than, say, Jimmy Eat World's "Bleed American". And even when they lean there, like on tracks six and seven, "Overtime Is A Crime" and "Godspeed", it makes for a bit of a lull in the album, during which the melodic grip on the listener is noticeably loosened.

All things considered though, I find this to be the band's strongest effort to date, simply for the facts that it actually has some songs that manage to nest in your memory, and that it doesn't struggle to include the post-hardcore elements that the band never did particularly well in my opinion. I still think the guys have their work cut out for them, finding ways to improve and include Brown's vocals in the future, considering that Cromby continually performs like he could front the band himself. I guess it's impressive that this has not lead to fatal band drama yet. Either way, that's a matter for another time. For now, let me just reward the band with a grade that reflects that they've finally gotten some upside in my eyes.

Download: The Waiting Room, Run Away, Now And Then, What It Feels Like
For The Fans Of: Deaf Havana, Lower Than Atlantis, Francesqa
Listen: myspace.com/wearetheoceanuk

Release Date 25.04.2011
Hassle Records

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