Oceansize - Self Preserved While The Bodies Float Up album review
By Mike Bax
In 2003, a friend of mine came back from a business trip in the UK with an album called Effloresce by a band called Oceansize. I can still remember hearing it for the first time at his place and having the hair on the back of my neck stand up as i heard song after amazing song on his stereo system from this wonderful band I had never heard of before. Effloresce is an almost perfect seventy minute movement of music containing mixtures of dense rattling guitar riffs and wonderfully choreographed time stops, made even more wonderful by the very unique vocals of Mike Vennart.
Oceansize are the most tragically overlooked band on the face of the planet. As they released albums number two and three abroad (Everyone Into Position and Frames – both excellent bodies of music in their own right) it felt to me like North America couldn’t pull their bloody eyes off of American Idol long enough to give this very REAL band a passing glance.
Oceansize are THAT kind of band. They are the band you pull out for your discerning music buddies after a few beers, and you want to show off something that’s both quality and still quite underground. Their music is like a trump card of sorts… the sort of thing you’ll play – knowing full well this new listener is going to go right home, google the band and (hopefully buy and not burn) get right to work learning the ins and outs of their wonderful back-catalog.
Oceansize’s fourth full album Self Preserved While The Bodies Float Up (SPWTBFU) is scheduled for release on the Superball Music label on September 14th. It ‘appears’ like there might even be a North American marketing push behind the band as I was provided with both a European and a US press release (I might actually weep with joy if the band finally come and play live in North America on this album – no friggin’ lie. I’ll drive around and see multiple shows if they do finally come abroad). The album is being toted as a different direction for the band – but don’t buy into this as Oceansize selling out – because SPWTBFU is yet another spectacular album – the fourth in a row for the band.
It IS true that the overall song lengths are shorter on SPWTBFU. So it is a bit different in that regard… There are two eight minute long songs, and the rest of the material flirts within the three to four minute long length. I can’t say that there are ‘singles’ on the album, although I do hear a few tracks that I could see getting some love on the radio. There is a bookend of sorts with songs two (‘SuperImposer’) and song ten (‘SuperImptoser’) and a slathering of the magical movements of swirling guitars, thundering drums and shimmering vocals by Vennart to keep the established legions of supporters more than happy.
I don’t honestly know how I feel about Oceansize potentially becoming a buzz band (after eight years, no less) with SPWTBFU. The album is certainly amazing, there is no denying that. I’d love for them to become the friggin’ bomb over here, and give them a reason to come back to North America multiple times over to tour the shit out of their material. But there is a part of me that wants them to stay cool and obscure – so I can keep busting out their material and saying “You haven’t heard Oceansize? Fuck man… check this shit out!” to more discerning ears in the years to come.
One thing’s for sure… I’ll be playing tracks like ‘Silent/Transparent’ and ‘Oscar Acceptance Speech’ from SPWTBFU a hell of a lot regardless of how the next few years pan out for the band. They are both amazing songs.