On & On - Oceans
By Benjamin Irons
The Green Door Store, Brighton; the host venue for the release of a promising new EP On & On from fledgling alternative artists Oceans. The local 5-piece have come a long way since their rather disparate, debut self-titled EP back in 2014. And with excessive gigging, changing of band members, word of mouth and internet promotion, the band have matured both musically and physically, steadily building themselves a loyal fan base through to which to channel their cultivated sound into. On & On demonstrates that transformation unquestionably, offering up a greater depth in their sound and confidence in their approach to achieve it. Most surprising of all, they’re unsigned.
Artwork by Brighton-based graphic designer Jack Warren
The opening title-track, "On & On", carries with it a peppy, upbeat plod on drums from drummer James Gillingham, readying a chorus of bittersweet dynamics fusing harsh guitar with an expressively dulcet vocal performance from new front-man Zach Silver - a noticeable feature of the bands developing sound, beautifully channeling a Don Broco vocalisation over an At The Drive In backing from guitarists Tom Hollands, Jack Squire and Conor Hyde. "Take Me Home" fits the band’s brief of big choruses; despite adopting a softer approach of echoed guitar-picking and subtle percussion, the transition from subtlety to bluntness in the mid-section is unapologetic in its nature, achieving a massive resulting sound. Despite the fact that "Release Me", a track from their 2014 EP, already makes a similar attempt to channel those loud/quiet dynamics, "Take Me Home" exemplifies it – a perfect example of how much the band have grown.
"Electrified", a standout track on the EP, takes a similarly energetic approach seen on opener “On & On”, but instead incorporates muddier guitar rhythms with sweeping leads found in artists such as Incubus and Of Mice & Men, both of which are cited as strong musical influences. But while the outro to this track is unconventionally aggressive, it does however lay claim to the band’s ability to combine melodies and harmonies with thick distortion and, yet, still make it sound big. Climactic number “Sweet Love” is befitting as the final track on an EP that exemplifies dynamics. And while we are able to vaguely distinguish various segments of influence played out on each of the four tracks, Oceans’ inability to adopt a preferential style or genre is engaging - a feature of their practice likely to hasten their route to fame. On & On is out on 6th August, 2016
*this post originally featured on GIGsoup