Polyenso
Clean Head


4.0
excellent

Review

by Mark A. USER (40 Reviews)
January 23rd, 2013 | 18 replies | 1,098 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Oceana's strongest outing to date.

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

Oceana has gone through quite a transformation the past few years. Their debut album, titled The Tide, was a post hardcore album through and through with little to no variation on the formula. Then-vocalist Keith Jones screamed through about thirty-eight minutes, adding little variation to the surprisingly somewhat interesting instrumentation. There were a few moments of brilliance, but for the most part it didn’t seem that this band was particularly going anywhere new; we have all witnessed the ascendance of Rise Records bands before, and there would inevitably be another band to take this one’s place once Oceana had run out of steam to power the hype-train. After Jones left the band, and they picked up vocalist Brennan Taulbee, things became very interesting very quickly. There was a stylistic shift over to a more melodic and thought-provoking sound. Birth.Eater, the band’s second release, was an album that explored concepts such as abortion and faith, and put more focus on the lyrical aspect of things. While not a perfect album, it was the bridge to the indie rock that the band has now adopted in place of the much more frenetic and aggressive style that they initially played. On Clean Head, they have completely dropped the breakdowns and screaming of albums’ past, pushing a more melodic and mature album. Taulbee’s vocals are the driving force behind the music here, as his voice is dripping with emotion. Whether it be despair or joy, his voice falters, stutters, and quavers as if his life depends on getting his words out. For it being such a rock-oriented record, it is surprisingly intimate and conveys a strong sense of atmosphere.

There is very deliberate instrumentation on this release, slow and steady has replaced the speedy drumming and aggressive guitar licks of past albums. The somewhat slowed down tempo on Clean Head accentuates the weathered-sounding vocals and makes the album sound more massive in scope. The strongest song on the release, titled “Barracuda Capital of the World”, starts off with a very ethereal guitar line, putting more focus on the intimate vocals. The drums slowly creep in, softly at first and then after the first minute of the song unwinds, the simple but solid riff kicks in and creates a very catchy groove. Most of the songs here adopt a straight-forward sound, but it works well enough as the mid-paced songwriting creates an organic identity that is utterly unlike the previous two releases. Whereas The Tide created an overproduced atmosphere that took away from their sound, this album thrives on an almost live-in-concert sound dynamic. One listen to the beginning to final song “Joy” will prove this, as the vocals that come in at the beginning of the song are hushed and confessional.

While this release is only four songs long, this certainly feels like the band’s strongest outing. The honesty in the music displayed here has the charisma of a band such as mewithoutyou, and it is unfortunate that this ended up being the band’s swan song under the name of Oceana. They were in a position to create quite an amazing album, and the fact that they were able to wrestle themselves away from a genre that produced nothing but copies of copies points to the passion that they have for creating worthwhile music, and it bleeds through in every aspect of their songwriting.



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user ratings (202)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
kevin234 (3.5)
Oceana changes their sound for the better....

TheGameNeededTrevor (3)
Definitely a new sound for Oceana. Save for the vocals, this isn't too bad of a listen....

East Hastings (4)
"And happiness it does exist, but I don’t know that this is it"...


Comments:Add a Comment 
foxblood
January 23rd 2013



6797 Comments


band name is under polyenso now not oceana

thelastsignal
January 23rd 2013



983 Comments


thanks, just saw that haha. i posted to the mods to take this down, is that what I should've done?

Digging: Mastodon - Once More 'Round the Sun

foxblood
January 23rd 2013



6797 Comments


that or they could move it over to the right album. either one works. if they take this one down you
can just repost it

thelastsignal
January 23rd 2013



983 Comments


sweet, thanks man. appreciate the advice.

CK
January 23rd 2013



4873 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Awaiting Frogstomp approval

thelastsignal
January 23rd 2013



983 Comments


Thanks to the invisible superhero mod that merged this review for me!

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
January 23rd 2013



19434 Comments


great review as expected, pos'd

Digging: Musk Ox - Woodfall

thelastsignal
January 23rd 2013



983 Comments


Thanks, Atari! I held off on the Themselves review (obviously), but I appreciate the positive feedback.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
January 23rd 2013



19434 Comments


anytime buddy. maybe i'll check this out

thelastsignal
January 23rd 2013



983 Comments


It would be worthy of your time, it's relatively short and I love the vocals on this.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
January 23rd 2013



19434 Comments


that's true it's just 4 songs, i'll check it out for sure then!

fromtheinside
January 23rd 2013



17714 Comments


their new name is just as bad as their last one but that doesn't tell of the relationship to their album qualities. this things rad.

Digging: Fallujah - The Flesh Prevails

thelastsignal
January 23rd 2013



983 Comments


Definitely, Atari! Let me know what you think. I agree fromtheinside, love this one, and really they have always put out interesting material.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
January 23rd 2013



19434 Comments


can't find a stream for this so if you can find one you should post it here.

thelastsignal
January 23rd 2013



983 Comments


Definitely will, man. It will be a bit later, but I will post in your shoutbox when I find one.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
January 23rd 2013



19434 Comments


sounds like a plan man

Cygnatti
January 23rd 2013



21349 Comments


what's the new album like

I saw the words post-hardcore AND metalcore thrown around so I'm having my doubts that it'll be good

Digging: The Avalanches - Since I Left You

thelastsignal
January 23rd 2013



983 Comments


I haven't heard it so far, but I know that metalcore isn't a part of their sound at all anymore. I'm guessing it will sound more along the lines of this release, from what I have heard from people.



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