Review Summary: ...Oceansize Jr.?
Oceansize may not have ever been big enough to have changed the future of rock music as we know it, but their life and untimely demise clearly made waves with this Bristol four-piece. Lengthy songs treading the line that separates Mogwai-esque post-rock from modern prog, off-kilter time signatures, layered guitars alternating between chiming delay-laden atmospherics and heavy riffing... even the vocal delivery and harmonising often echoes that of Mike Vennart, minus the northern snarl.
So it's hardly original, but to dismiss this EP based on that would be to ignore a strong set of post/prog rock whcih occasionally touches on spectacular. It's an impressively varied collection, with each track expressing a different side to the band, from the chiming indie guitars of Wires and Code
to the Deftones esque riffing of The Pretence
and the warm, choral closer The Mapmaker
. In fact, "choral" seems to be a word to describe most of the vocal parts on the EP, with non-harmonised sung parts being so rare that it's actually difficult to determine what exactly the lead vocalist sounds like, making his voice a little indistinctive compared to say, Chino Moreno (to cite another influence of theirs) a shame when the vocals are clearly handled very well and with impressive range and variety.
There's not a bad song here, but it's on tracks 2 and 3 where this EP really hits its stride. Stitched to the Bone
is as big sounding as they come here, with an almost rapped (yes really) verse part that could have gone so badly wrong but is performed with enough conviction to carry it off. The mid-section is particularly strong, spitting out riff after riff with increasing intensity, never losing its flow. Its predecessor, Judge
is even more impressive, creeping into the speakers almost lazily, before the vocals lift and carry the song through a series of climaxes, each one bigger than the last. The layered vocals work better here than anywhere else, and the melodies to which they are sung are never less than stunning.
If Oceansize did indeed lay down the gauntlet for British modern prog rock, Judge
is proof that this band are up to the challenge, and the rest of this self-titled EP shows that, with some more originality to their sound, their first full length release could be something very special indeed.