Review Summary: A pretty good debut from a very young band, it unfortunately suffers from bad production and sometimes slips into generic screamo tendencies.2 of 2 thought this review was well written
Versus The Ocean is a five-piece rock/post hardcore band from Flint, Michigan, and is comprised of:
Chad Morgan - Bass
Jeremy Whittaker - Vocals
Jordan Emede - Drums
Mike Hale - Guitar
John Whiteside - Guitar
That's pretty much all that I could find on these guys, other than the fact that they competed in Warped Tour"s 2007 Battle of the Bands, and I'm not sure if they won or not. Also I think they broke up. Anyway, I decided to split this review into three parts, Heavy songs, Moderate songs, and Slow songs, so that the review will be easier to navigate and you don't really have to read the minutia of it all.
Heavy Songs: Easily the weakest of all the tracks on the album, they tend to fall into the trappings of generic screamo, and I would only recommend Take Cover! and The Water's Cold In Here if you absolutely had to listen to these.
PeekAboo: Probably the heaviest track on the entire album, the nice piano intro leads straight into the screaming of Jeremy Whittaker, which takes you by surprise. All in all this song is pretty generic, although the break at the halfway mark is excellent.
Take Cover!: This song fairs marginally better than the opener, especially lyrics wise. Whereas the first track focused on love and loss, this one focuses on war, more specifically those in-directly invovled in war. The music is still pretty generic, and this is the only track without piano in it, so that also takes away from the appeal of the song.
Across The Line: The chorus really boosts this song, as the lyrics are flat out awful, as is the instrumentation. Very little piano makes this song relatively un-original and there's really nothing appealing about this song other than the slower breakdown towards the end.
Watch Your Step: Boasting more of a hard-rock sound, there isn't much melody to be found here and the vocals are mostly screaming. The good part of this track is that the lyrics are much better than the other heavier tracks, but this can be easily overlooked.
The Water's Cold in Here: The best guitar you'll find on the album, definitely the best of the heavy songs.
Moderate Tracks: These tracks are the bread and butter for this album, easlily lifting this band out of the mire of generic screamo bands.
Resting in The Palm of Your Hand: One of the best screamo tracks I have ever heard, it balances heavy with uplifting perfectly. The first half may seem like more generic screamo, but if you can make it to the second half you're in for a treat. The instrumentation improves ten-fold and the introduction of the piano into the mix really helps to create great melodies with the guitar. Lyrically one of the best for them, although some may find it incredibly sappy, it is really uplifting, and the piano outro is one of my favorites this side of Spoils by Protest The Hero.
Lost and Found: A much more mellow hard-rock approach, the track is almost lethargic. Again terrible lyrics and pacing really take the fun out of a potentially great song. Even when it gets to the heavier part it still seems like a drag to keep listening to.
Breaking the Silence: Some of the best screaming on the album, but ultimately falls short due to its almost detached sense of existence, if that makes any sense. It's almost like they don't care that they are playing any music at all.
Your Escape: Screamo with a hard rock twist, this song boasts some of the best lyrics on the album, especially in the chorus, where Whittaker spouts, "We're all looking for something somewhere, to make sense of this life we have". Powerful stuff indeed.
Slow Songs: There's only one(well, two, but since I can't find the other anywhere, I'll just do a brief overview of what I can remember from it), but it more than makes up for it in depth and originality.
Between Me and You, An Illusion: Hands down the best track here, really showing the songwriting ability these guys have. The tricky drum-beat perfectly fits the piano/guitar melody to create some of the most inspired moment musically from these guys. The lyrics are also fantastic, being really inspiring but also incredibly deep. This album should be picked up solely for this song alone, the rest just seem like an after-thought.
Song 2: I don't really remeber much about this track, all I know was that it was almost entirely piano and incredibly ballad-like.
All around a pretty decent debut from a promising young band that unfortunately suffers from bad production and songwriting. Definitely looking forward to their next album if they're still together.