Review Summary: A watertight collection of dangerously catchy post hardcore songs and that's all we could ever ask of Our Last Night.
Our Last Night is an elusive example of successful evolution within the modern post hardcore genre. On early albums the band played a relatively generic but fun style of metalcore with a greater emphasis on screamed vocals and breakdowns. Suddenly along came their third record The Age Of Ignorance which revealed a bit of a departure. Breakdowns and screams made only brief appearances while electronics and clean singing became the norm. I personally enjoyed it to a much greater degree and it still houses plenty of great songs, but nonetheless Our Last Night still needed to shed the slight feelings of immaturity that permeated their material. This is where Oak Island comes in. The Oak Island ep manages to grow and develop the band’s sound to the point that they are well into the process of grinding down the juvenile edges to their sound and comes out as an infectiously catchy rock influenced post hardcore release.
Opening track “Dark Storms” is a good indicator of the band’s sound and turns out to be an early highlight. While the track includes some swirling dark electronics and atmosphere it still retains the catchy edge. The guitars still utilize some heavier metalcore esque riffing that adds a bit of punch to the sound but doesn’t overdo it. Guitar leads slip in to add much needed color and the band knows to mix up the structure by tossing in things like the stellar drum fill just before the second chorus. A short breakdown manages to fit the sound well due to how rarely Our Last Night uses the dreaded mosh starters. A key component of the band’s sound is the brother duo that leads the band. Matt and Trevor Wentworth, Trevor contributing cleans and screams and Matt playing guitar and singing, are the biggest standouts of the ep. Their voices are used to great effect, combining for harmonies and to add more dynamics and variety to the vocal performance despite not having a markedly different tone from the other. The vocals are clearly the focus and Our Last Night generally pulls it off without sacrificing the other instruments.
As an easily digestible short ep, Oak Island very easily sticks in your head. All seven songs could potentially be singles in their own ways but they retain their own atmospheres. “I’ve Never Felt This Way” has a slightly repetitive chorus and some of the lesser lyrics but nonetheless is memorable. “Same Old War” features possibly the catchiest chorus, “Sunrise” slows the pace down as a near ballad, and the title track brings back a little bit of the opening track’s darker atmosphere while adequately summing up the ep. Instrumentally the band performs well across the board. The drums are punchy and throw in great fills on occasion, the guitars are simple but capable of some unorthodox riffs and great leads, and while the bass rarely stands out it adds a lot of low end to the sound. The electronics present are very much a background piece to the puzzle. They pop in at opportune moments and fill out the song when they aren't meant to stand out individually. Lyrically the band isn't a standout but for the most part come off as sincere and passionate. The production is polished but the band’s rock tinged post hardcore brand of music flourishes for it and there is plenty of clarity and punch.
All in all Oak Island is a standout for the lighter side of the genre. Every song is catchy enough to become ingrained in your head but lacks the sort of accessibility that could turn it into a guilty pleasure. Our Last Night is a rare example of how to make a simple and catchy album without sacrificing a moment of creativity. With this kind of output from a mere ep, one can only wonder how their next full length will turn out but if Oak Island is any indication, Our Last Night could be turning some heads.