Bands are historically hit hard when they lose their vocalist, yet We Are The Ocean powered through the departure of Dan Brown back in 2012 to create the excellent ‘Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow’, and surprised even the most pessimistic of followers. Its slight twinge in style allowed Liam Cromby to utilise his stunning voice with full effect, but ‘Ark’ takes the spectacle even further as a larger than life ambient album with influences pulled from everything between Queens Of The Stone Age and Muse, and beyond.
Title track ‘Ark’ was met with mixed reception upon release for its over-dramatisation film score intensity but, unlike the single, the album is effective with its varied tempos and differing sound and impresses on the first listen, although the opener is certainly a grower.
New single, ‘Holy Fire’, has waltzed onto the BBC Radio 1 daytime playlist with full potential to continue the mainstream success British rock has seen lately with Mallory Knox and Lower Than Atlantis, by using an easy to follow track with a sing-a-long chorus that the broadest of audiences will enjoy. This new WATO sound has the subtle tones required for radio, and can flourish if given the time to.
You can hear all kinds of styles pulled from rock heavyweights throughout ‘Ark’; whether it’s the Josh Homme form in ‘Shere Khan’, or the heavy Arctic Monkeys noise of ‘Good For You’. The new territory suits WATO who have avoided complacency or monotony by sidestepping producing the same sound over and over again, but still applying their ‘Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow’ roots to the new record.
‘Do It Together’ has a chorus that would do well on Foo Fighters‘ latest output ‘Sonic Highways’, and ‘There’s Nothing Wrong’ has summer vibes that even Jack Johnson wouldn’t turn down. It may have been a risky move to push the boundaries that you’ve stuck to for the last five years, but turning up with the same record again wouldn’t have cut it for WATO, even if it stood as firm as ‘Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow’ did.
It would be difficult to make music that didn’t compliment Cromby‘s voice, but the extra strong hooks on the likes of ‘The Midnight Law’ has given a sharper emphasis to the fourth full-length offering from the Essex band, and they sound like they’re now ready for bigger and better things.
Written by Michael Heath (@MikeBeef)