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Oceansize - Self Preserved While The Bodies Float Up CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.64 | 183 ratings

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5 stars For two years in a row, there has been an album released on September 14 that I anticipated for months. Last year's (Porcupine Tree's The Incident) was sadly somewhat dissappointing (not bad, just not as good as I'd hoped), but this year's is not. At all. In the least.

Oceansize just proved again why, in my opinion, they're the best band out there.

This is their shortest full album to date, and features more succinct writing than their previous works, which serves to make it appear less progressive and more selloutish, but it's not at all. The short songs are chock full of ideas (especially the first three) and never seem to sit still long at all. It will take three or four listens to tracks like "Build Us a Rocket Then..." to really hear all the brilliance. And that's fantastic.

It all begins with "Part Cardiac" which is simply dreadful in the best sense of the word. The band described it as their heaviest, sludgiest, most obnoxious composition yet. All joking aside however, it's an intense opener. It's slow, yet aggressive, and has some creative and wonderfully diminished-sounding motifs. That sort of thing isn't generally my cup of tea but I like how it turned out. 8/10

"SuperImposer" comes next, heavy, quick, and melodic. It's similar to the songwriting style of "Unfamiliar" but faster and a bit heavier. About halfway through it launches into a section after section of sheer brilliance. Definitely one of the better songs on the album. 10/10

"Build Us a Rocket Then..." is extremely dense and odd-metered, so for the first listen it'll probably sound like wild noise. After a few listens it'll fall into place as the craziest ride on the album, very hectic and awesome. The instruments and vocals are effected just the right amount and the riffs and themes are fierce. The best part is right at the end when the band takes a tiny break, enough to fit three notes in, before simply exploding to finish. 10/10

The next thing you hear is just vocals, drums, and piano to start. "Oscar Acceptance Speech" brings the energy level down far enough to let you catch a breath. A minute or two in a nice piano solo comes in. I find it to be very tasteful. The guitars come back in with a great fuzzy sound and a wonderful rhythmic motif, giving way to a section of beautiful two part vocal interplay. Then out of nowhere a string trio comes in and everything else dies out. Some vocal/piano backing also shows up, but this ending drones on for maybe a minute and a half too long for how little it varies. 9/10

"Ransoms" comes across as bare to me. Guitar arpeggios to start, leading to clear vocals. Some very nice glittery sounding scribbly tremolo guitar work rounds out the sound for a few minutes. Then everything cuts back and a very awkward sounding bassline is all that's left. It feels as though it's rhythm is off a little. Somehow it manages to work, and the song flips back and forth through these two modes for the rest of the time, creating a whole that's actually quite melancholy, helped by some good lyrics. Probably could stand to be a little longer, I feel like it finishes early. 9/10

"A Penny's Weight." Oh how weird. Strange chord progressions and dreamy sounding multi-tracked vocals for three and a half minutes. This is the kind of thing that would have fit right in with the material from the "Home & Minor" EP. This is one of those songs that gives me a sort of delerious, detached vibe. Very interesting. 9/10

"Silent / Transparent" was the first track from this album that I got stuck in my head. The vocal lines are great (so are the lyrics, not something I generally notice very much). The guitar textures are great and full of motion. There's one riff in particular coming in after 3 minutes that I absolutely love. The drums play a steady, but hard to follow beat (probably in weird time signatures) in a very characteristically Oceansize fashion. The second half of the track does the whole post-rock pick-one-good-theme-and-repeat-it-louder-and-louder-until-the-end business, which is fantastically rewarding for the three minutes it lasts, especially when it hits a part where you know something's about to happen, when they let loose with all three guitars and highlight a new theme on top of the old one. Gorgeous. 10/10

The prize for best song title on the album goes to "It's my tail and I'll chase it if I want to." With a title like that, you'd think that this song would be hyper. Well for the first fifteen seconds it sounds like a few guys who are super high just plinking weirdly on guitars. But they're just kidding. It's a hyper song. Fast, loud, rhythm guitar starts out of nowhere and takes you on a ride to the crazy but awesome rhythmic ostinato vocals. It's short and serves as a wake up call, in case you forgot about the first three tracks. 9/10

If any of you really liked "Long Forgotten" and have been waiting for Oceansize to write another song in that style, wait no longer. "Pine" brings back the strings we heard a few tracks back and makes them really beautiful. I especially like the parts when the drummer switches to hitting the lower sounding toms. Very nice, and doesn't overstay it's welcome or become very cheesy, which it's almost in danger of doing. 9/10

With the silliest drum opening since "Remember Where You Are," "SuperImposter" is a weird, subdued piece that has a kind of ominous air. Despite it's title, I can't say that I detect any connections to "SuperImposer" but whatever, they can name the songs what they want to. I find the feel of the track similar to that of "Voorhees." After some dark guitar work, some really cool sounding harmony vocals end the track and the album. After repeated listens it's really grown on me. 10/10

Unless you have the bonus track, "Cloak." I'll be honest, the first time I heard it, I went "What the **** is this crap?" at the first part. Things do look up a bit and there is some pleasant guitar and a pretty nice chord progression later on, and I always end up enjoying it by the end, but I would totally understand if someone didn't like it. Think of it as an Oceansizeish take on weird avant-garde lounge jazz. They probably did the right thing by not including it in the album proper. 6/10

Oh dear look I've probably written way too much. Look, all the above is to say is that I think Oceansize has once again put out a masterpiece. I mean, in the few days since it came out, I've listened to it about twenty times, and STILL haven't gotten tired of it. It's just that good. To Oceansize fans like me, get this immediately (as though you haven't already). To all others, get this immediately anyway. Then the rest of Oceansize's stuff, just for good measure. It's just that good.

(P.S. Here's hoping that the Dear Hunter puts something out next Sep 14.)

Forscyvus | 5/5 |


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