‘The Rhapsody Tapes’ shows Ocean Grove as a ballsy group that have come to shake things up. An eclectic sound, especially for a debut full-length, the band weave various elements into their sound, heavily being influenced by a nostalgic nu/alt metal vibe as well as plenty of metalcore elements.
From the dark intro track ‘What I Love About A Natural Woman’ right through to curtain closer ‘Hitachi’, the band keep it fresh whilst not failing to keep it authentic, and they manage to superbly create a sound for themselves.
The heavier sides of the album come in the form of the likes of the hardcore-esque ‘Beers’. It’s fast-paced, thrashy, and unrelenting from the get go, with the track only letting up slightly on a clean vocal hook by Luke Holmes. A far more metallic beast than ‘Beers’, ‘Intimate Alien’ carries with it a strong Korn-like vibe, yet still keeping a clear notion that this is Ocean Grove. Brilliantly intertwining heavy and gritty guitar, samples, synth and stripped back, groove centric elements all into one song coherently is a very difficult task, yet we see it here being done to perfection.
Yet, if this is all you thought Ocean Grove are capable of, they take on far softer tracks with just as much ease and excellence. One of the strongest highlights on the record comes in the form of ‘The Wrong Way’ and, while there isn’t an acoustic guitar in shot, the track kicks off with a heavily similar to feeling to one, with just a lone guitar accompanying Holmes‘ voice before the full band kicks in. Against the fast-paced, harsh and loud instrumentals of some of the preceeding track, the band produce a beautiful, atmospheric melody with Holmes‘ vocals doing nothing but complimenting this.
The slightly heavier but still massively melody centric ‘Mr. Centipede’ is another look into a more atmospheric sound from the band; a catchy, pop like chorus is for sure more earworm than centipede. The track is filled with emotion both lyrically and instrumentally, and proves a great bridge between the band’s differing sounds, whilst existing as its own entity at the exact same time.
Ocean Grove came to show that they’re not ones to be part of the crowd and want to break out of music’s still rather rigid creative borders, and with ‘The Rhapsody Tapes’ they do that and then some.
Written by Dec Sherry (@decxsherry)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.