We are Oceans – We Are Oceans – 81%

We Are Oceans cover art

Released last month, “We are Oceans” self titled release comes to us courtesy of the Massachusetts four-piece. Delving right into the 4-track 40 minute release we have “Roots Grow Down,” which opens at a relaxed pace with an interesting mix of layered clean guitars and bass with faint chiming of the cymbals in the background. Immediately I was drawn into the mixing which has the guitar layers in separate channels and the bass and cymbals in front and center. The synergy between the guitars and how they’re arranged compliment either other very well.

When the song picks up steam at around the 5 minute mark the cymbal crashes begin almost immediately, an elementary trend I see in a lot of newer post-rock bands in an effort to ratchet up their intense walls of sound a notch or two. Cymbals are nice but can quickly wear out their welcome. Case in point here is when the track is peaking towards the end and the guitar has become one big static-laced mess and the drumming gets progressively louder we still have the same crashing cymbals as before. Still, the song is a decent opening track that is well structured for an 11 minute intro.

Next up is “Step” which opens with quick opening sounding drums and quirky guitar with just a tad of echo. The drums are just as much the focus in this track as the guitar, which was a great idea as the drummer has put on an absolute clinic in this song. “mmYellow” is an interesting track with chugging yet playful guitars amidst more great drumming. The fantastic guitar tones that have a stoner/drone sound really shine standing next to the cleaner tones also found in the track. This track intrigues me the most and caught my attention the most out of the four just based off the uniqueness of it. Halfway through the track it comes to a screeching halt only to rebuild its intensity sounding like a completely new song. The way the guitar screeches in the right channel while a spiraling guitar works the left channel is superlatively creative mixing. It’s only burden is the technical recording/mixing/mastering issues that are to be expected and are completely forgivable on self-funded smaller band’s releases.

The album closes with “Leaves Like Stained Glass”, the longest song on the album clocking in at 12 minutes exactly. This track begins with a return to the relaxing vibes we felt in the intro track. Thick bass peaks my interest as a wailing guitar crashes in the distance and the song kicks it up a notch in pace and intensity. It does this several times and really is really a fun track that shakes up the post-rock feel with its sporadic pacing.

All in all I think We Are Oceans has shown a lot of different looks on this short yet sweet album. They’ve proved themselves capable of constructing well planned songs and have shown chameleon ability to switch their sound at a moment notice. We are Oceans certainly have my ear. 8-27-12

Pay what you want on bandcamp: http://weareoceansband.bandcamp.com/