Review Summary: A very premature release with some good ideas thrown in, but overall bland and unoriginal.
The Internet is a glorious thing and it has done wonders for musicians in terms of exposure. It’s allowed numerous up and coming bands to make names for themselves and stay connected with their fans, release music, etc. Fans are able to write/blog about their favorite bands and create buzz that will draw people to the band and make them want to listen to their music. One band in particular that I’d heard a lot of people talking about on the Internet was Being as an Ocean, an up and coming five piece band from San Diego, California whose debut album, Dear G-d, had just been released. One certain review claimed it to be “an album that not only shakes the genre of melodic-hardcore to the core, but also puts Being As An Ocean in amongst the finest that the genre has to offer.”
So, I gave in to the amount of hype and decided to give this a spin.
Taking influences from bands like Defeater, Hundredth, Listener, etc. I thought that maybe the album would be pretty good. After listening to the album, you can tell that most of it is quite a rip off of it’s influences. Then again, the band (at the time of release) hasn’t been together for a year even. It’s clear that an album that was written so fast would be a bit messy and lacking originality, so in a way you can kind of forgive the band. Now let’s talk about the music itself.
Vocally/lyrically, the album is not very diverse. You either get a deeper Defeater-esque shout, a spoken word section in the vein of La Dispute or Listener, or a clean section that isn’t very good. The lyrics themselves are written in the very personal manner of La Dispute, but do little to differentiate in any way possible and are shrouded in so much pseudo emotion that it’s hard not to laugh at some parts. One part in particular that stuck out was on the song “The Hardest Part is Forgetting Those You Swore You’d Never Forget,” where the vocalist sings lying awake in bed feeling the bed feeling the spot on my chest where you used to rest your head.
As douchey as it may sound, I laughed. The clean vocals on the album are not very good at all and in the future should just be removed. Overall, the vocals are probably the biggest flaw on the album and in the future need to try and be more diverse, original, and maybe more exciting, because hearing the same shout over and over and it not going anywhere is truly boring.
Musically, the album has some potential if only it were a little more original. “Salut E Vita” sounds like a track you’d hear off of Empty Days and Sleepless Nights
but it still manages to be at least a little engaging and not as stale/boring as a lot of the other tracks on the album. Sitting through the whole album can be a chore especially when every song sounds the exact same. The only redeeming qualities of the album in my opinion are that the band can construct some catchy moments in certain songs. “This Room Is Alive” manages to blend faster paced melodic hardcore hardcore like Counterparts and slower moments where the vocalists shout actually manages to shine for a bit and be driven by some pretty good drumming and guitar sections.
Overall, the album struggles with creating it’s own identity. A lot of different ideas are meshed together, but done poorly in execution. It’s definitely not bad for a band that’s been together for only a few months. 2013 looks like it will be a big year for BAAO as they continue to gather fans and already have a sophomore album in progress. Hopefully their next effort isn’t as stale and can actually hold itself up as a solid release and it contributes a little something more instead of just ripping off a bunch of other bands and suffering an identity crisis. Salut E Vida
BAAO and may 2013 be a better year for you.