Friday, December 21, 2012

Review: Ocean Is Theory - Future Fears

My freshman year in college I used to do something that all my friends thought was really weird. I would go to concerts by myself. Not big stadium shows, but small standing-room shows at some of the most run-down, sketchy places in the DFW Metroplex. I always went to these shows by myself because I would see bands that no one I knew listened to or has even heard of. The benefit of that was that I could be whoever I wanted to be. If I felt like raging, if I felt like standing in the back, it didn’t matter because I was by myself. So I am standing in the back at show while the opening acts play. The place was dead, near empty. The main acts were outside hanging out, so most of the people at the show were too (there still couldn’t have been more than 150 people all together). So I am sitting there probably thinking about where I was going to stop and eat after the show when the second opening act started to play. It was a group of young guys all about my age. They were new and not from around the area, hence the lack of fans. Then they started playing. Holy Mother-of-Pearl. These guys were good. Beyond their years good if you asked me. How could they be unknown? They handed out their first EP for free after the show. I grabbed it and listened to it the rest of that semester on repeat. These guys were going to be huge, they had to get huge. Talent was oozing out of them. Well those guys were Ocean is Theory. Four years later, they finally released their first full length LP. They may not be big yet like I expected, but the talent is still all there.

Ocean Is Theory – Future Fears

This record is an example of why it is so hard to make it in the music business. After three different EPs and almost a complete change in the bands sound, they finally got signed to Razor and Tie Records. Well after some stuff happened, (not really clear on what so don’t ask me) they ended up releasing this well after it was recorded on their own.

A word that describes how this record makes me feel is melancholy. I don’t mean that in a bad way. It is just a very mellow sounding album. It starts off with “While We’re Young”, a song about having no regrets. It has a quick tempo and a striking chorus. It goes from there with a good mix of slower paced and high tempo tunes that blend well together. No song seems out of pace thematically or musically. The vocals are strong and fluctuate all over from a whisper to a scream, always conveying lots of emotion. The instruments all do what they are meant to, providing feeling and a distinct rythm to almost every song. These are power-chorus songs that will be stuck in your head for days. Songs like Best Intentions,  Scared Now, and King Sized Bed are standouts in this regard. The end of the record does stand out a little less in comparison to the first half for me. I felt like some of the songs started to blend. Thankfully I liked them all regardless so it wasn’t a huge complaint. About half the album is made up of previously released songs which is a bit of a bummer as well.

Rating: 4/5 "It's Just Swell"

Even though it has been four years since I first heard them, I would still say they have talent beyond their years. This is a fantastic first effort. Hopefully it will lead to an even better second, third, etc. If not, well I suppose that is why the music business is what it is. 

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