Review Summary: A small offering filled with a large amount of hope...
The semi-experimental, progressive post-hardcore outfit I am the Ocean has been a breath of fresh (ocean) air since their inception. Their first release “…And Your City Needs Swallowing” was filled with fresh interesting riffs and some good ambient, experimental bits not seen very often from bands of their ilk. A change in the vocalist and 2 years later brought the extremely catchy and still fresh Escapist Fiction which nixed the experimental portions for a more focused, guitar driven effort. Now 3 years after Escapist Fiction, I am the Ocean comes back with more of the same but still retains the interesting, original riffs and melodies they’ve gotten so good with.
Meant as nothing more than a teaser for an upcoming LP, “Overhead” proves that these guys still have it. The catchy, original fuzzy guitar play with the accompaniment of the excellent drums make a crushing return as this EP is heavier than their previous release. Nowhere is metalcore detected in this release however which speaks volumes about the bands commitment to crafting their own brand of hard-edged post-hardcore. With this increase in tenacity comes a cost of catchiness of the songs. Songs like “Icy” and “Jim"” from Escapist Fiction showed just how good writing can be just as effective as technical wizardry for an album but with “Overhead”, the writing suffers a small bit in exchange for a heavier feel. This exchange however is barely noticeable.
The vocals sounds just as good if not a little bit better than before. His voice fits the music perfectly, much more so than most bands to be honest. The screams flow effortlessly from the clean sections which avoids the jarring effect sometimes experienced when screaming in music feels tacked on. The vocal writing is still spot on with the backing vocals being used well but not overused.
It’s good to know that “I am the Ocean” is still not only making music but high quality post-hardcore which is lacking these days. Not too much should be inferred from this release as it’s only 5 songs and not much has changed between it and Escapist Fiction. What is displayed should appease fans of the band as well as fans of post-hardcore in general and leaves nothing but high hopes for the eventual LP.