Essex post-hardcore five-piece finally find themselves on album number two.
Raziq Rauf 2011
When they burst onto the scene in 2007 We Are the Ocean may have had their detractors; but with Go Now and Live, the Essex post-hardcore quintet have proven themselves as more than just an Alexisonfire tribute act.
While the naysayers will point to Liam Cromby’s velvety tones as still aping those of Dallas Green and Dan Brown’s harsh shouts as the equivalent of George Pettit’s balancer, and there is no disputing that the Canadians are still certainly a massive influence musically. But as the distinction between their voices become less stark and musically WATO push towards a straighter rock sound, there is far less to complain about.
Opening track Trouble Is Temporary, Time Is Tonic is a brilliant early showcase for both vocalists – Cromby opens the verse with a faltering wail before Brown trades off with a macho retort. It’s clearly the lush contributions of the former that carry this album – and indeed this band – above the current crop of British talent, but without the gruff ripostes from his counterpart, WATO’s music would be just too syrupy sweet. Take The Waiting Room for instance, where they sing simultaneously, adding extra layers and dimensions to the already urgent and driving emo rock.
Runaway continues in that vein albeit at a slightly slower pace; a pace that might be called lethargic by some. The pleading sound of Trials and Tribulations is a return to the punchy modern rock with which WATO have made their name, and Overtime Is a Crime is a fast and furious number that alters the velocity of the album pleasantly. Follow What You Need has the band sounding very serious throughout, with guitars showing gentle restraint and vocals giving emphatic direction; and Before I Die furthers the slowed-down theme for one last song.
Go Now and Live is a measured and accomplished collection of songs – songs which work together as an album as well as they do individually. An ounce more British individuality certainly wouldn’t go amiss, but you can’t begrudge them their influences any more. We Are the Ocean have found their own voice now.