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The Light In The Ocean - The Light In The Ocean CD (album) cover

THE LIGHT IN THE OCEAN

The Light In The Ocean

 

Eclectic Prog

3.95 | 3 ratings

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TCat
4 stars "The Light in the Ocean" is the name of a new band that formed in 2018 and have released their debut album of the same name in August of 2019. The band is made up of two members of another Eclectic Prog band called "Tom's Hank"; Jared Emery (guitars, sax, vocals) and Jacob Ewert (drums, keys, vocals) who have teamed with Travis Freudenberg (bass, growls) and Chris Johnson (electric guitar). They are helped out on a few tracks by some guests providing vocals and harmonies, trumpet and some growling vocals. The album consists of 12 tracks which range from 2 minutes to 10 minutes, for a total run-time of 65 miutes.

The overall sound is mostly quite atmospheric, but being an Eclectic brand of prog, varies quite a bit over the course of the album, moving from peaceful passages to sudden outbursts of heaviness which even includes growls in one track. The album begins with "Yakamoz" (2:53) which immediately evokes images of being on a ship in the water, the piano emulating waves with ascending and descending arpeggios, a nice bass line, a moderate drum/percussive beat, and later, some great guitar work. It's a nice introduction to the album with a breezy and carefree sound. "Bergherder" (10:06) starts with a smooth sound, and the vocals come in soon after. There is a nice jazz feel to the music and a lovely melody in the vocal line with some great harmonization. Again, there is the breezy and carefree attitude from the first track, but there are some sudden outbursts of heaviness that hint at rougher seas on the horizon. As the music moves along, the music slides almost casually into and out of heavy and dark sections. At 5 minutes, the instrumental break explores the heavy side of the music and after a while, the beat slows, but becomes a bit turbulent before passing into a more ominous section, and then suddenly returning to the original smooth melody, yet still passing into and out of darker sections. The amazing thing about the music is how easily it slides into the contrasting textures, much like it would be on the high, unpredictable seas.

"Space/Suit" (5:40) has a rolling percussion and more of the jazz undertones as the sound is a bit more threatening, and the vocals consist of layered harmonics that seem to want to give us a bit of comfort even though the music hints of being unsettled. It's a great contrast. The music takes it's time stirring things up over it's course on this track, and the guitar solo that comes in later stirs things up even more. "Seafarer's Song" (2:17) slows down the beat and presents a nice, floating instrumental with underlying horns and acoustic guitars. Very nice.

Next is a trilogy of songs named "Flickhead". "Flickhead I" (4:50) begins with the distant crash of thunder, and dark, ominous guitars, all played quietly with a slow beat. The keys bring in a layer that gives a sense of floating along. After 2 minutes, wordless vocals come and the music begins to intensify, until it becomes heavy at 3 minutes. The meter and tempo soon changes, goes through a progressive section where it changes meter and texture several times. The music builds and then moves into "Flickhead II" (3:25) where the music becomes peaceful, yet retains an unsettling undercurrent. A nice guitar melody is established as the music rolls on. Regular vocals come in before the 2 minute mark and then drums start to generate more movement pushing the track to the next section "Flickhead III" (7:39). Vocals begin quickly on this track, again with some great harmonic parts, but the sound of the track shows an increase of darkness, and the music and vocals intensify, then become heavier as the guitars push things forward, intensifying the music as it builds tension. At 5 minutes, things become very heavy, and the growling vocals come in when it reaches its apex. Even more tension is generated after this until things quiet down at 7 minutes to ominous whispers.

"The Smallest of Seafarers" (2:44) is more atmospheric, but feeds off of the darkness generated from the last track. The piano works to calm the guitars underneath it, but they start to try to disrupt things as they complain in the background. It's as if we have moved through a terrible storm and sailing out the other side. "StykDyk" (6:11) brings the jazz undertone back to the music and rolls along a bit smoother again. There is a nice rhythmic pattern made from the drums and guitar chords as the keys play along softly tying it all together. The guitar takes over at 3 minutes and plays a rousing solo for a short time before scat-like vocals come in bringing it back to a smooth jazz sound. Another, jazz fusion style guitar solo comes in and takes this smooth journey to its conclusion. "Perfamulated Amulite" (8:49) begins even more atmospheric with wandering guitars and keys, that give the music a romantic sound with European undertones. This one is exceptionally lovely in its instrumentation, the keys and guitars working together beautifully making a lush texture, pushing forward even without the help of drums or percussion. This music is so easy to get lost in at this point, even when it slows and becomes more reflexive. Then, an interesting turn at 4 minutes, when what sounds like the reading of instructions of some sort while the drum comes in behind it, then after 5 minutes, a sudden outburst of powerful guitars and wordless singing comes in. The music builds in intensity and darkness as it moves forward. All of this is done so seamlessly. After 7 minutes, it all calms down again, returning to that romantic reflective sound again. This track is definitely a favorite.

"The Seafarer" (6:45) starts more unsettled, and becomes a bit more chaotic, and this is reflected in the vocals that soon come in. The drums are flailing along wildly and the guitars bring in some heavy layers. The rhythm settles for a heavy moderate tempo after 2 minutes, and the guitars shove the music forward, building tension as it goes along. At 3 minutes, it gets into heavy progressive territory as everything gets dramatic and wild. Things get suddenly steady as the drums and guitar support spoken vocals from a frantic female voice. After, the music continues to push forward to the end. "Seafarer's Shadow" (3:54) ends the album with slow jangling guitars, a rolling bass line and wandering piano all working together in a crescendo. Soon, brass instruments float along with the instruments and a spoken word section comes in floating along in the music.

This album is an excellent debut album for this band and proves their ability to make some excellent music. It is mostly instrumental, but there are enough vocals spread throughout to keep the listener engaged. But it is mostly left up to the music to make the impressions needed on the listener's mind. The use of dynamics is excellent and the musicianship is top- notch. There are some passages that tend to drag a little bit, but for the most part, the music keeps you interested all the way through. There are defaintely some 5 star moments in this album, especially on the track "Prefamulated Amulite" and in the contrasts that you experience in the "Flickhead" trilogy. This is close to being a 5 star album, but just misses that mark. However, it is one that will merit returning to often as there are some really high points spread throughout. This is definitely one of the better albums released this year.

TCat | 4/5 |

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