We Are The Ocean
Ark


4.0
excellent

Review

by LoLifant USER (4 Reviews)
May 8th, 2015 | 32 replies


Release Date: 05/11/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: May this ark be our saviour.

In the bible it is written, that god commanded Noah to build a big boat, called ark, so he can survive the devestating flood with his family and all animals from earth they took into it, two of each kind.

We Are The Ocean has always been a band of change. Starting out as a pure post-hardcore act on their debut, where screamer Dan Brown claimed a majority of vocal delivery, the british group started altering their sound greatly on sophomore release 'Go Now And Live'. While the dual voices worked astoundingly well on some occassions ('The Waiting Room', 'Runaway'), especially his normal singing felt rather unfitting most of the time and an eventual departure was inevitable, considering the musical style this band is striving for. That said, people who are hoping for a return to roots might be disappointed with their 4th LP, titled 'Ark', since Liam Cromby (vocals, rhythm guitar), Alfie Scully (lead guitar), Jack Spence (bass) and Tom Whittaker (drums) continue their evolution right where they left off on last release 'Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow'. Despite of this, I demand everyone to give this record a fair chance, since it's the band's best work to date.

Kicking off with leadsingle 'Ark', a skyfallesque monstrum of music sets listeners into the right mood for everything to come and contains several aspects you'll find seperately in following songs, such as female background singers. The first impression of this record might cause some people to critisize a lack of cohesiveness, since all tracks differ quite a lot in style from one another. However, after time one may grasp the concept that could lay behind it. This album doesn't seem to be named after an ark for no reason! Spot two belongs to the dance-inducing 'I Wanna Be', conveying a classic rock feeling due to its production and sing-along chorus. With 'Good For You', you'll get a creation that is surprisingly similiar in execution to its predecessor, also making use of falsetto background voices during chorus, without lacking an own identity though. Track 4 & 5 are titled 'Do It Together' and 'Shere Khan', which head into a harder direction with the former being characterized by its punching up-beat riff, while the latter stays dark and moody. Once again some kind of couple, it seems. Well, when you hear what songs come next, it could finally become apparent what concept I'm talking about. Both, 'Hope You're Well' as well as 'Letter To Michael' represent emotional ballads, but are delivered in completely different ways. One relies on disorted guitar tunes, while the other leaves it to simple acoustic string-picking. By the time you reach this point of 'Ark', it's possible to notice how each song duo seems to show two styles of execution for a similar song type. When that idea came up to me, the last track had yet to be played. I was wondering whether my theory would gain further affirmation, since the opening song still had to get his counterpart - and now tell me that 'Remember To Remember Them' doesn't remind you of 'Ark' right from the get-go! An ark, with two of each kind.

Just as on former records, Liam Cromby is at the top of his game with his vocals. Furthermore, he shows a surprising talent for shouts, which return in several songs. Just listen to 'Do It Together' and you might stop mourning about the loss of Brown. A great improvement comes with this albums production. It varys from time to time, depending on which effect a song wants to convey. While on creations like 'I Wanna Be' you'll somehow get the feeling of listening to a raw live performance inside a dirty rock'n'roll bar, with guitars set to the forefront and Cromby shouting alongside them, it's completely reversed on pieces such as 'Letter To Michael', highlighting Liams voice and using simple acoustic tunes to support his performance from behind. Also, in a time where way too many bands rely on so called double-tracking to make their vocalist sound stronger, We Are The Ocean's frontman has no need for such toys. It appears here and there nonetheless, but rather as a stylistic choice to improve the song itself, not his singing skills, which can be hardly topped anyway. Another positive change I already partly adressed is the fact, that Cromby doesn't carry all songs on his own any more, as it happened on 'Go Now And Live', where the guitars were banished into oblivion by his voice, never standind out at all.
This time around, all instruments play an important role and work hand in hand to create a fluid sound, without, most importantly, losing their distinction. 'Do It Together', for instance, would be doomed without its constantly audible bassline, being essential for the songs flow. There are also some standout sections where drumming takes the spotlight, e.g. 'Remember To Remember Them'. Fortunately, features as female choirs or violines weren't overused at all and are placed right where they belong to improve a song in special ways. Regarding lyrics you'll get everything from catchy lines to sing along with like "I wanna be, I wanna be your lover!" to metaphoric phrases which keep you guessing what their meaning could be, as seen in the lyric video for leadsingle 'Ark'. More important is the fact, that everything is presented in a honest and authentic manner, so one can get emotionally involved in different ways, whether it's lovely or aggressive.

If anything, the only negative aspect being mentioned might be an absence of innovation. Everything has been done before. It's the main reason why I could see people a bit older in particular (like in their mid 30's), rate this album lower, since they have a longer history with such kind of music and with each song you listen to, it becomes harder to get surprised by the next one. Maybe I'm also taking it too far with my interpretation of the possibly inexistent concept behind 'Ark'. But that doesn't matter, as long as the record achieves to make me get involved, think about it and remember its content. This fun, this is catchy, this is modern, this is classy, this is rough, this is honest - this is an ark, containing everything rock as a genre has to offer, sailing across the wide ocean of music.


user ratings (35)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
LoLifant
May 7th 2015


1206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

After losing it yesterday due to login issues I've rewritten the whole thing now and yes, it became longer than expected. But the paragraph about the ark concept seemed noteworthy for me, since during my first listen it really was like "if I'm right the last song has to be similiar to opener Ark in some ways" and when listening to 'Remember To Rememer Them' I've been surprised that it actually did remind me of Ark instantly. You can also imagine the review without the paragraph about this concept thingy and then it becomes a good sized review. Feel free to criticize constructively + remember it's my 2nd review ever and english isn't my first language.

SPRFanOf5H
May 7th 2015


828 Comments


And he's returned! With a review too!

I have some suggestions my friend, definitely in the future trim the fat in your paragraphs as you go. Essentially, your paragraphs can be a little bit too big. You also don't wanna run on with your thoughts too much in a sentence, I saw some of that while reading this review.

Other than that, I like the piece you wrote! I enjoyed it and you put it all in perspective really well, definitely giving a pos. Looking forward to seeing more of your content in the future my friend!

LoLifant
May 7th 2015


1206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah the length is something I really don't like myself but it kinda felt necessary and honestly I've been too lazy to try shortening it without destroying what I wanted to explain with it. Thanks!





Calc
Contributing Reviewer
May 7th 2015


15719 Comments


what does that first paragraph have to do with anything?

LoLifant
May 7th 2015


1206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

For people who have no idea about the ark story with the two animals of each kind since this concept is important later on in the review.

YakNips
May 8th 2015


18934 Comments


i liked the other review better

VheissuCrisis
Emeritus
May 8th 2015


1366 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Got a soft spot for these guys, will check.

StolenIdentity
May 8th 2015


286 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Really liked their previous LP but this disappointed me enormously. One or two decent tracks.

LoLifant
May 8th 2015


1206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's totally different but not bad at all. However I expect this to hardly divide fans so I can understand your point of view.



I also think that this albums strength aren't single standouts but the record as a whole.



@ yaknips



Are you talking about my review for Chapter & Verse? Well yeah it's more of a down to earth review compared to this.

VaxXi
May 9th 2015


4014 Comments


Listening to ARK and the QOTSA vibes are pretty chill, but the Muse vibes are a little unwelcoming.

What tracks on this album do you suggest I spin Lo?

LoLifant
May 9th 2015


1206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hard to tell since each pair is quite different from the other pairs. I think they made a good choice with the singles (Ark, Do It Together, Holy Fire). Additionally you might listen to I Wanna Be OR Good For You + Hope You're Well OR Letter To Michael. But, as already said, it's hard to tell (that's why the "recommended tracks" at the bottom is so weird).



From all songs I'd say that 'Wild' is most reminiscent of their last two records.

Ecnalzen
May 23rd 2015


7143 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I wish these guys had a distributor in the US.

LoLifant
May 23rd 2015


1206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

As expected the ratings are pretty split. Maybe it helps to say that I've read an interview where one of them stated that they wanted to show off their diversity on this record. They absolutely succeded on that task.

skoopy48
June 4th 2015


1868 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Meh, some songs are kinda neat but others sound a little like butt rock. I respect their willingness to change but they nailed their sound a couple albums ago.

LoLifant
June 4th 2015


1206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

What is butt rock? And which album are you talking about? I think they were really desperate to find an identity and choosing where they want to go. They nailed it with this record.

skoopy48
June 4th 2015


1868 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

My personal favorite from them is GNAL, the rock sound is just not as exciting.

LoLifant
June 4th 2015


1206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh well ok I think GNAL is probably their weakest.

skoopy48
June 5th 2015


1868 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I thought so at first, but the dual vocals gave them an added kick even though it was awkward at times. I'll try to dig into this a little more and maybe the rating will change. I enjoyed MTMT a bit.

LoLifant
June 5th 2015


1206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The dual vocals are indeed the strength of GNAL but the rest is lacking...instrumentation is more or less the same on each song and isn't even clearly audible. However, hope you'll give this one a new shot some time soon.



btw chorus lyrics on Runaway = anal sex (can't be ever unheared, you're welcome)

ChrisManchester
June 14th 2015


3 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really enjoyed that album, I think it's an improvement compared to their last effort.



But somehow I can't shake off the feeling that they're trying hard to be Queens of the Stone Age on some tracks. It sounds very QUOTSA-like at times, which is not a bad thing at all.



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