We Are The Ocean – Ark review

Today marks a long awaited day for We Are The Ocean fans – not only is the release of an album in itself exciting, it’s the band’s first full length studio offering since 2012, and the extra time to work on it (previously having pumped records out on a yearly basis) has paid off fantastically. Last month we caught up with bassist Jack Spence before they headed on stage supporting Lower Than Atlantis and, with pride, he promised us development (you can check out the full interview here), and the band have delivered.

Now on a new label and having had some times to collect their thoughts in the past few years, We Are The Ocean feel like they’ve reinvented themselves and come out with a second debut. I know that’s oxymoronic, but they certainly feel like they’ve been handed a new lease of life and are willing to make the most of it.

At the back end of last year, Zane Lowe premiered the opening song and title track, Ark, as his Hottest Record in the World, and from its humble guitar lead beginnings blossomed a Muse-tinted epic that seems designed to be a James Bond theme song.

This polished work feels even more like an opening credits track when you consider the fractured start of the next up, I Wanna Be. Liam Cromby’s vocals dip into a wild and raucous side, think of the punky angst that Slaves are currently coming out with, and the music swoops to follow. It’s a world away from Ark, but its still as bloody good.

Changing direction again, there’s a – dare I say it? – reggae influenced mood to Good For You, and everything from the lusting, seductively distorted vocals to the infectious chorus and heartbeat backing spells out “fan favourite”.

Returning to the pure rock style that’s the gravitational force of the music, lead single Do It Together shows they can still make music that’ll guarantee a mosh pit, whilst sweating, punky, fuzzy Shere Khan returns to the band’s wild side.

From its guitar intro, Hope You’re Well asserts itself as an emotive rock ballad that’ll turn a room into a sea of lighters, with solos that mimic some of the album’s more classic influences. Stepping down the anger a peg or two comes acoustic number Letter To Michael, a personal and heartfelt tribute to Cromby’s father that breaks the album up and add yet another direction to their sound.

Holy Fire builds the power back into the album, with vocals soaring over the mounting percussion and dramatic strings of the chorus, whilst Wild bring back the fun in what’s bound to be another fan favourite, punchy and once again worthy of a mosh pit. Certainly set to be wild.

A summery vibe is hinted at with There’s Nothing Wrong, all the power remaining in the vocals whilst the instrumental steps back to a more simplistic format. The Midnight Law showcases the coated-in-fuzz feel again, before closing five minute Remember To Remember Them winds things up with their developed songwriting capabilities.

As well as refreshing themselves, there’s the feel that this is a debut record’s style in how much of a mixed bag the twelve tracks are. Fortunately, they’ve the benefit of years of experience and although some of the tracks seem opposite in style, there’s a continuity of excellence running through the record.

You can catch We Are The Ocean on tour at the following dates:

MAY

Sat 16 MILTON KEYNES Craufurd Arms
Sun 17 CAMBRIDGE Portland Arms
Mon 18 LIVERPOOL Arts Club
Tue 19 NOTTINGHAM Red Room
Wed 20 PLYMOUTH Underground
Fri 22 LONDON Electric Ballroom
Sat 23 LEEDS Slam Dunk Festival
Sun 24 HATFIELD Slam Dunk Festival
Mon 25 WOLVERHAMPTON Slam Dunk Festival

AUGUST

Fri 28 LEEDS Carling Festival
Sun 30 READING Carling Festival

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