Oceansize
Effloresce


4.5
superb

Review

by johnny of the Well USER (41 Reviews)
January 11th, 2013 | 46 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: He’s not joking.

effloresce
vb (intr)
To burst forth into or as if into flower; bloom

Oceansize’s first full-length release is very unusual in the sense that it is both one of the most aptly-titled albums that I’ve ever encountered and one of the strongest debuts ever to grace my ears. How they managed to do this is beyond me, but they somehow managed to tie a myriad of genres together into a diverse group of songs that shift keys and time signatures so fluidly that most other bands that attempt this (Dream Theater springs to mind) feel stilted and awkward in comparison, whilst maintaining a constant impression of maturity and confidence. From start to finish they maintain the highest standards of quality and keep the listener engaged with each and every crazy idea that they present.

The first three songs speak volumes for the rest of the album; I Am the Morning is a dreamy instrumental with traces of post-rock that gently eases the listener in, Catalyst – one of the band’s best known songs and an album highlight – opens up with a violent swirl of feedback and a strange call-and-return chug-off before bursting into a series of loud, powerful riffs, beautiful melodies and proggy grooves that thrive on contrasting dynamics, whilst introducing Mike Vennart’s vocals, which are both explosive and soothing here, and One Day All This Could Be Yours relies on a minimalistic, sinister vibe that is driven by keyboards and Vennart’s hauntingly mysterious vocals, before climaxing with a heavy riff. These songs might seem to have little in common, but they have a very strong sense of cohesion, the secret to which lies in the album title. Every song on Effloresce (with the exception of ambient intervals Rinsed and Unravel) has at least one moment when it ‘bursts into flower’; the music can consistently be described as swirling, and there will always be a moment when the swirl of sound does something absolutely fantastic. This happens in many different ways; the arrival of the first heavy chorus in You Wish, the bizarre guitar solo in Massive Bereavement, the emotionally-charged bridge of Remember Where You Are and – the best moment of the album in my opinion – the masterfully crafted, wah-infused bridge in Amputee are just a few examples of the album blooming.

Although the whole album is brilliant, there are a few songs that deserve special mention; You Wish is the album’s ugliest, heaviest moment that deploys chunky riffs and furious vocals to great effect, Catalyst achieves excellence through being part rocking, part relaxing and part grooving, Women Who Love Men Who Love Drugs is a stunningly beautiful song that makes astoundingly powerful use of very simple melodies, Amputee is a driving rock song (possibly the simplest song on the album, which doesn't say much) that has a soaring chorus and a bridge that remains one of the most amazing things I’ve ever heard, and Massive Bereavement succeeds through being, put mildly, weird as hell; it maintains a strange vibe that is both chilled, trippy and slightly menacing, erupting into riffs chunky enough to bring Rage Against the Machine to mind. Vennart’s vocals are as eccentric as the rest of it, the belted-out line “He’s not joking, joking, joking” being one of the album’s most memorable moments. These songs are all incredible, but there aren’t any genuinely weak moments on the album, only songs that aren't as great as the best ones (Remember Where You Are and Saturday Morning Breakfast Show don’t stand out quite as much but are still worth a listen). It’s also interesting that the final three songs, which are the most similar stylistically, are the only part of the album that threatens to drag (it doesn't quite, since they are all great songs, but the lack of difference between them is very obvious); this proves how much the album relies on diversity.

After so much praise, you must be wondering what keeps Effloresce back from a perfect 5/5; it has songs that are easily strong enough to merit that and enough diversity to keep anyone interested throughout. Well, the problem is that it is be quite simply overwhelming; at around seventy minutes, Effloresce is a long album, and it contains so many ideas that it is impossible to appreciate it in one listen, especially due to the subtlety of some songs. Although it is cohesive, its vast presence can easily overpower the listener and – although I feel slightly bad about slamming the audaciousness of any music – this is too notable to not count as a slight flaw. Otherwise, there’s nothing significant that I can say against it; Effloresce is an album that thrives on great variety, fascinating ideas – looking at the tabs or sheet music for an Oceansize song is guaranteed to make you think – and pretty damn solid songwriting. Recommended to anyone who’s prepared to seriously listen to it.

Top 5

1. Amputee
2. Catalyst
3. Women Who Love Men Who Love Drugs
4. You Wish
5. Massive Bereavement



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4.2
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Comments:Add a Comment 
johnnydeking29
January 11th 2013


9452 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Best non-5 album ever

Digging: Warren of Ohms - The Wolf and The Fox

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
January 11th 2013


4453 Comments


I haven't jammed this in so long, it is definitely a fun album. Sweet review, Johnny. Might have to play this today for old times. POS'd.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
January 11th 2013


23973 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the first song still makes my nipples hard every time

Digging: Taylor Swift - 1989

johnnydeking29
January 11th 2013


9452 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You mean I Am the Morning?
@Paperback cheers bro, defo give it another listen

Keyblade
January 11th 2013


15226 Comments


great review. i've had this for years but haven't properly listened to it.

Digging: Insides - Euphoria

johnnydeking29
January 11th 2013


9452 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks bro, it's worth a listen for sure

zxlkho
January 11th 2013


3472 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is most definitely a 5

CasinoColumbus
January 11th 2013


340 Comments


Been meaning to check this band out. Where should I start?

zxlkho
January 11th 2013


3472 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This album or Music For Nurses EP.

CasinoColumbus
January 11th 2013


340 Comments


Thanks, I'll give Effloresce a shot than. Nice review btw johnny

CaptainDooRight
January 11th 2013


30242 Comments


can't say i've heard this but pos

Firestarter
January 11th 2013


277 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Fantastic review for a fantastic record. This is probably in my top 10. The length doesn't bother me. I listen to it on long cross country rail journeys.

That moment in Massive Bereavement where the tension just builds and builds and then lulls for a second before hitting you with that monster riff, always makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck.

johnnydeking29
January 11th 2013


9452 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks guys :]

OneMoreRoland
January 11th 2013


1053 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Should have mentioned Long Forgotten for being one of the most beautiful songs, ever.

johnnydeking29
January 11th 2013


9452 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I like it a lot, but it never really clicked as much as the best songs do

GiaNXGX
January 11th 2013


4867 Comments


Great review bro.

Here's something: Oceansize’s first full-length release is in very unusual in the sense


I haven't heard this, maybe I should.

johnnydeking29
January 11th 2013


9452 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks bro, I'm awful at proof-reading, and yes you defo should

sjp55555
January 11th 2013


85 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

These guys were way ahead of their time. Oceansize should have been the definition of what "post rock, post alternative" was or was supposed to be.

johnnydeking29
January 11th 2013


9452 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, they did things on their own terms

Yazz_Flute
January 11th 2013


18852 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

AAAWWWEEHHH YEEEW CUD BEEEHHHHH AHHHN AHHHHMPYUUTEEHHH

Digging: Kenn Nardi - Dancing With the Past



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