Review by: Billy Geary
|When UK darlings We Are the Ocean released their debut album Cutting Our Teeth in 2010, the band was subject to a plethora of Alexisonfire comparisons from both critics and punters alike. Who could blame them though, the current fad of screamed verses and uplifting, melodic choruses has been going gangbusters and it did wonders for this particular band’s standing internationally. However, most couldn’t get past the clear Alexisonfire influence, owing mainly to the sing/scream dynamics between main vocalist Dan Brown and vocalist/guitarist Liam Combry.
We Are the Ocean’s second album marks a quite large departure from their original sound. Trading the post-hardcore of Cutting Our Teeth for a more straightforward alternative rock sound, Go Now and Live is more akin to the Foo Fighters or Anberlin than any of the band’s earlier work. This is in fact not a bad thing, as We Are the Ocean once again produce the goods, marrying plenty of vocal hooks with their accessible instrumentation. Despite the more melodic, straightforward sound found on Go Now and Live, the album still possesses its grittier moments. Small flashes back to the five piece’s heavier roots are still spattered throughout, with ‘What It Feels Like’ and ‘Overtime is Crime’ acting as somewhat bridging tracks between their two releases.
Forgetting the aforementioned comparisons, Go Now and Live is in fact a very solid record. Chief vocalist Dan Brown’s shift from screams to husky singing has, while a little awkward in places, ultimately improved the band’s sound. Notably, some of the albums more memorable moments feature Brown’s cleaner vocals, in particular the radio ready ‘Runaway’ and outstanding single ‘The Waiting Room.’ The interplay of Brown and Combry’s vocals is again the main drawcard of the band, despite the mellowing out of their sound. ‘The Waiting Room’ is the perfect example of this, signallying the band’s whereby Combry’s melodic vocals provide the best hook on the album.
Go Now and Live is, however, not without its faults. Over the very brief 33 minutes, the same song structure is used so many times that it does become quite repetitive. Seemingly, the band is playing it safe for fear of branching out from their newly updated sound. The reasons for this are somewhat of a mystery, especially given the huge jump the band had already made between albums. Surely a little more experimentation wouldn’t have gone astray, because it isn’t great form for a 33-minute album to contain filler tracks.
We Are the Ocean’s sophomore record is a step in the right direction for one of the UK’s better young rock bands. The five piece have succeeded in keeping the immediacy of their earlier work whilst also stocking up on copious amounts of melody. If songs like ‘The Waiting Room’ are any indication, once We Are the Ocean iron out the kinks and experiment some more with their new direction, they will be a very formidable rock act. Go Now and Live is a very solid, very safe record, providing a good indication of things to come whilst still showing We Are the Ocean still have plenty of improvement left in them.
Review by: Billy Geary