Essex boys come of age with a solid rock record.
Alistair Lawrence 2012
When We Are the Ocean parted company with their co-lead vocalist Dan Brown back in June, there wasn’t enough time to speculate about what it meant for their prospects. The lead single to this album, Bleed, was hastily re-recorded and bagged them a significant amount of airplay, threatening to become their biggest hit to date.
It’s easy to hear why. Roaring into life after the meandering, expendable opener Stanford Rivers dies away, it does what You Me at Six tried to do but couldn’t: upset their reputation as a pop-rock band who impress impressionable teenage girls more than anyone else. Bleed rips and roars by pick-pocketing the Foo Fighters’ squalling, stomping style. It also makes the most of now-lone frontman Liam Cromby. He’s had his vocal range both praised and described as untapped by those close to the band; now he gets a chance to prove it.
This album is bold and bolshie, busting lungs and expending gutfuls of energy. Sure, it’s derivative in places and slightly puffy in others, but its vitality is glowing, infectious and easy on the ear. Hearing Cromby almost audibly suck in the air before he belts out everything from the pounding Machine to rangy ballad Chin Up, Son is impossible to dislike.
In fact, the every band member sounds like they’re hurling every ounce of themselves into each song, like a batter swinging for the fences. This also imbues lyrics about standing out, going forth and asking questions with a genuine sense of adventure.
As has been noted before, bands such as We Are the Ocean currently exist in a crowded market. Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow should give them a firm foothold in it, though. Also, there’s no shame in not hanging around forever, especially when, like they are, you’re ideally placed to seize the moment and live for today. This just might win them a considerable audience of people who wish they could break the monotony of everyday life and do the same.