Oceansize

Oceansize - Everyone Into Position - Album Review

Oceansize - Everyone Into Position - Album Review
Oceansize
Everyone Into Position

On their debut LP, 2003’s ‘Effloresce’, Oceansize exhibited a talent for assembling vast, mobile audio structures capable of annihilating all in their wake and in doing such earned themselves the dual tags of one of the most promising and most aptly-named bands in the country. The release of the EP ‘Music For Nurses’ in late 2004, displayed a similar penchant for capacious sonic scope but also revealed a new direct, more aggressive streak. It is thus with their new album ‘Everyone Into Position’ that the listener is able to hear something approaching a culmination to this process. One of the fundamental problems with many bands (correctly or not) subsumed under the post-rock genre is that tracks, while often compelling, are left flabby with the self-indulgences of its creators left

unchecked. This cannot be said about ‘Everyone Into Position’. Although all bar one of its tracks clocks in at over five minutes, the constant shifts in tonal, melodic and rhythmic emphasis ensure that each song is as streamlined and fat-free as possible. Opener ‘The Charm Offensive’ demonstrates this very point where an opening melody menacingly backed by rolling toms and the kind of creeping guitar hook Trent Reznor would be proud of shifts effortlessly into salvos of grinding wah-wah riffage and tip-toeing vocals before unleashing the full brunt of a three-pronged guitar attack in a tidal wave of power chord demolition. New Single ‘Heaven Alive’ has its heartbeat set around Jon Ellis’ pulsing bassline before exploding into - shock of shocks - a post-rock chorus to which you can actually sing along. ‘A Homage To Shame’ thunders along with metallic intent and ‘Music For A Nurse’ explores the kind of esoteric, ethereal territory more commonly associated with Mogwai and Sigur Ros.

A great deal of credit for this album should seemingly be directed the way of producer Dan Austin who has managed to allow each sound on the album to be distinguished and glide in and out of focus accordingly. Even Mike Vennart’s vocal which might otherwise patently have been buried under such an avalanche of instrumental muscle is confident, clearly audible and far higher in the mix than on their debut.

The album closes around a trilogy of tracks the band themselves have dubbed their “church suite”. ‘Mine Host’ finds atmospheric piano and organ backed by a computerised voice reciting random numeric patterns and a whole host of other electronic flourishes effectively cleansing the listener from the torrent of sound which preceded it. ‘You Can’t Keep A Bad Man Down’ sounds like a twenty-first century Pink Floyd playing with the mythical Nigel Tufnel amps that “go up to eleven” and closer ‘Ornament/ The Last Wrongs’ feels like someone making their final confession and testament before soaring up heavenwards on a cloud of angelic vocal harmony.

The band have spoken a great deal about the pressure and amount of effort that went into following up a work such as ‘Effloresce’, but ‘Everyone Into Position’ is proof that it was time well spent. Everything now certainly is in position for Oceansize to augment their fanbase and gain the success they so thoroughly deserve.