This is a review of "Black Ocean - EP" recorded by Black Ocean. The review was written by Tomas Cummings in 2016.
Black Ocean are relatively new on the scene and will be releasing their debut self titled EP very soon. So, let's have a taste of what's to come on release day.
"It's What We're Here For" careens out from the starting blocks of the EP covered in the blood of the mid 2000s, sounding like a heavier and more tuneful version of Nine Black Alps with their own northern drawl chucked in for good measure. Rolling bouts of drums thundering along with the almighty push of guitars makes this opener an instant head nodder. The urge to press replay as soon as the song ends is countered by the intro of the second track.
Echoes of grunge interjected with garage noise rock vibes are evident here on "I've Got A Plan", leaning towards a Melvins style chorus that is dragged mercilessly into the thicket of spacey underlays and weighty guitar tones until it bookends itself with the intro riff.
This third track, "Biffy Kills" shows that the band are capable of more than heavy bang outs and demonstrates their attention to catchy vocal melodies that lean towards a more poppy vibe, yet without compromising their integrity as musicians (Since we all want to be cool).
By the time "Up Below" has reached the ears, it becomes apparent that this band certainly have their own sound, whilst cleverly fusing elements from bands like Nine Black Alps, Living Things, Nirvana, Weezer and Hell Is For Heroes into their own identity. Which is most certainly a compliment.
Going back to the song itself, which opens with a mildly fuzzy bassline that fools the listener into the ever changing dynamics of the song, dipping and diving as if a penguin had found the best toboggan race line and was having the time of it's life. There's some great use of timing that helps accentuate the vocal lines in this song, showing promise for future releases too.
Finally, "Glow" is playing. So far it sounds like Reef and We Are Scientists have not been seen outside for a while, forgotten in their homes awaiting the day they are found amongst discarded beer cans and the ashes of their dreams burnt into photos with cigarettes. This song seems to follow this over use of adjectives and tangental vocabulary's vague attempt at metaphor by feeling like it's the least happy song on the EP and is an outpouring of sentimentality that is refreshing to hear.
Taking into account Black Ocean's outstanding debut, it's only fair to assume that there will be some parts of the EP that would be lacking in impact (to some critics) but every band has these problems. What Black Ocean have to their credit is that they are releasing regularly and it seems they are changing, growing as well as making melodic, interesting music that could change a room of people who are disinterested at a gig turn heads. The EP was most certainly a tasty treat and I for one cannot get enough of it.