We Are The Ocean

Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow

Written by: TL on 07/11/2012 20:35:27

I've alluded to this before and I hate to sound like a broken record, but whenever I think about We Are The Ocean, I can't help but to compare them to Deaf Havana. I do this mainly because despite the fact that the release of WATO's new album "Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow" puts them one album 'ahead' of Deaf Havana, every else that's comparable about the bands look like Deaf Havana are ahead of the curve. I'm talking of course, about how both bands started out during the golden age of clean/scream dynamics as promising British proponents of the style, only to find themselves forced to adapt as that scene quickly got saturated to the point of bursting.

Deaf Havana were the quickest to evolve, seeing that screamer Ryan Mellor was essentially preventing the band from growing out of a niche and taking spotlight away from mega-talented singer James Veck-Gilodi, so they said their goodbyes, released a critically acclaimed album in "Fools And Worthless Liars" and got much more noticed. And for the longest time I saw that as the only logical step for We Are The Ocean as well, until they released last year's "Go Now And Live" on which they actually managed to incorporate former screamer Dan Brown with a sort of scratched singing that actually contrasted the clean pipes of singer/guitarist Liam Crombye quite nicely.

The attempt to evolve with Brown ended abruptly while recording "Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow" however, as the band apparently did not find his efforts to be up to scratch this time around, hence sacking him rather inelegantly. It made it clear however, that the ambition was to do exactly what Deaf Havana did: try to set up Liam "SoundsLikeBritishDallasGreen" Crombye as the central star and head on forward in the direction of a more melodic type of alt-rock.

Unfortunately, on "Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow" WATO come out of their coccoon stumbling in a number of areas. Firstly, bassist Jack Spence does not exactly sound all that impressive filling in on the parts that were clearly written for Brown. Secondly, with the focus resting squarely on Crombye's singing for most of the record, it becomes clear that despite his ability to sound out of this world on occasion, he does so mostly in the few calmer City & Colour-ish parts, while busier moments sees him over-stretch his croon to places that don't sound anywhere near as convincing.

Vocals aren't the only dodge element on "Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow" however. Generally the album feels confused and marked by the fact that the band changed line-up after all the songs were written, while they were in the middle of recording them. Angry riffs are jumbled with twangy melodies and grooves that are neither here nor there, and it's hard to figure out when the record is meant to light and when it's meant to be dramatic or energetic - the pieces just don't seem to consistently fit.

When that's all said and done though, it is still not nearly as bad as you think I think reading so far. Because fortunately the band's persistent knack for fresh melodies has not been entirely suppressed, and on the handful of occasions when Crombye sings at his best, you understand pretty clearly why the band wants his voice to be the one fans hear in the future. "Young Heart" in particular is a solid song that escapes most of the album's problems, as does "Machine" after the awkwardly belted vocals in its intro. "Golden Gate" is also an odd keeper, with its gloomy groove striking a strange yet cool contrast with some of Crombye's better vocal work.

Overall however, the occasional catchy chorus or bit of impressive singing is not enough to completely redeem an album that is simply noticeably incohesive. It's worth a listen if you're a fan already, or if you enjoy other singers like Dallas Green and James Veck-Gilodi, as long as you're prepared for it to be a bit hit and miss. Let's just hope though, that this is an abberation born out of a time of transition and likely label pressure, because remembering "Go Now And Live", WATO still have it in them to be better than this.

Download: Young Heart, Machine, Golden Gate
For The Fans Of: Deaf Havana, City & Colour, Lower Than Atlantis, The Almost
Listen: facebook.com/wearetheocean

Release Date 17.09.2012
Hassle

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