There are loads of bands nowadays that use the tried and tested, ever popular method of using two vocalists; one being the screamer, and the other being the clean vocalist. Some bands pull this off magnificently, while others come across as trying too hard. We Are The Ocean, with their debut album, ‘Cutting Our Teeth’, pulled it off to decent acclaim. While they weren’t doing anything new, what they did do was well done, and they had a much more mature sound than what you’d expect from such a young band. Many people fell in love with their heartfelt lyrics, and the beautiful voice of Liam Cromby ensured their fare share of female fans. Some of the songs off ‘Cutting Our Teeth’, including the excellent ‘These Days, I Have Nothing’ got some air-time on alternative music channels, including Lava TV.
Their sophomore effort, ‘Go Now And Live’, however, doesn’t live up to its predecessor. It starts off in a fairly decent manner, ‘Trouble Is Temporary, Time Is Tonic’ and its early chords could easily be mistaken for the chords of Alexisonfire‘s single ‘Young Cardinals’, but then Cromby takes the listener away from such likenesses, and tells the listener “I’ve been working so damn hard / I need a little rest” before Dan Brown‘s screams display the band’s harsher side. His vocal style has seemed to have changed since the last album, it’s not as visceral as before and sadly, this takes the band’s attitude and aggression away a little. The whole song, though, is a good start and is one of the strongest that is on offer.
Lead single ‘What It Feels Like’ is a good song as well. It is obvious why they chose it as a single. The simple chords, laid-back drumming and the combination of Cromby and Brown‘s vocal styles make it a good song, but there seems to be something restraining the band. Most of the other songs on the album seem as if they’re restrained too, and it can get quite frustrating for the listener at times.
‘Godspeed’ is another track that stands out from the rest. The driving bass and steady guitar rhythm make this the most accessible of all the tracks and Brown takes charge of this song, which is a welcome change from Cromby‘s eloquent voice. It’s the closest We Are The Ocean get on this record to reaching the heights of ‘Cutting Our Teeth’.
The rest of the songs just didn’t grab my attention. I found myself getting bored by the time I was halfway through the album, and it also agitated me that the band aren’t making the most of a sound that works for them, and what could really make them a much bigger band. The songs are too similar, there’s not enough imagination and it seems that the band have become stuck in a rut. If they carry on this way, they’re going to lose fans, fast.
Even though this is a decent album (it would make a good driving soundtrack and something to have on in the background) and would be a really good offering for a first album, there seems to be something holding back the aggression that is threatening to burst out of the band’s sound. It can get exasperating at times, as instead of a smooth singing line, you want Brown‘s harsh vocals to come into play, but sadly they never do. It will be a hit with the fans, but for first-timers, ‘Cutting Our Teeth’ remains the album they need to listen to first.
Written by Rhys Milsom