We Are the Ocean – Cutting Our Teeth
I was first introduced to We Are the Ocean when they supported the Thrice UK tour. I was won over by their larger-than-life performance and immediately dubbed them ‘The British Alexisonfire‘. The vocals were excellent, the songs energetic and contagious and the personalities of the band members really came across on stage. The ‘British Alexisonfire‘ tag gives you an indication of the style of music on offer: quick paced post-hardcore with screamed verses and cleanly sung choruses.
Unfortunately though, We Are the Ocean suffer the same issue that others before them have fallen prey to: the energy in their live performance doesn’t translate onto record. Two of the highlights from the live show were the screamed vocals and the uplifting songs, which helped catch my attention. Live, the screamed vocals were passionate and intense, however on record they become monotonous and predictable, which does little to prevent the songs bleeding together as one. The uplifting songs loose their elevation and end up sounding flat, which is exacerbated by the predictable songwriting pattern that stays pretty much constant throughout the ten tracks.
With that said, there are strong points on this album that really deserve praise. The band’s greatest asset by far is vocalist/guitarist Liam who provides the clean vocals. His voice is reminiscent of Dallas Green from Alexisonfire, both in terms of tone and flawless live execution. Each song on the album contains a very strong chorus, punctuated by Liam’s excellent vocal delivery, which provides several memorable moments on the album.
There may be elements that hold the album back, but it’s fair to say there are no bad songs on offer. Each song provides sufficient enjoyable moments to keep me interested throughout the album. Yes, the songwriting formula has been heard several times before, and the music may be lacking in originality, but there is clear potential here for something very special if only the band could harness the obvious talent that they have and remove the ‘Alexisonfire‘ copy cat moniker.
I do feel harsh criticizing a band for being unoriginal as it feels like an unfair demand to expect innovation from such a young band who are just trying to create some music. I accept that notion and to a degree I welcome it, but the genre is already waterlogged with bands producing this kind of music from concentrate; it’s going to take a band with the ability to create the next flavor that will achieve longevity in my album collection.
Despite these misgivings, it is very positive to see UK talent emerging and this debut album provides plenty of reasons to be positive for the band’s future. With a more varied song-writing approach and some thought behind harnessing the energy of their stage show, the follow up release could be an excellent one. I would recommend catching them on tour, as they do really come alive on stage, but sadly on this record they just don’t do enough to distinguish themselves from the hundreds of other bands playing this style of music.
Standout Tracks: “Look Alive”, “These Days I Have Nothing”