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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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3 stars While this album shows signs of growth and experimentation, Self-Preserved While the Bodies Float Up does not ever reach nor rise above the glories of Everyone into Position or even Efflouresce. The growth and experimentation is more into the territory that RADIOHEAD and DOVES have long since traveled--i.e. making more 'poppy' progressive rock.

1. "Part Cardiac" (4:10)
begins with some 1940s-sounding drum sounds before exploding into heavy power chords similar to BLACK SABBATH or TOOL. Then a TOBY DRIVER-esque vocal enters giving the rest of the song a very KAYO DOT "Coyote" sound. Not very much to my liking. 5/10

2. "SuperImposer" (4:15) begins like a post-New Wave song with a bit more of an edge--somewhat like
THE TUBES--with a vocal that sounds very much like SMASH MOUTH. The guitar "leads" have a much softer than usual sound to them--somewhat reminiscent of mid-to late 80s CURE guitar sounds. Drummer Mark Heron persists in rolling to the point of annoyance on one particular tom (a frequent complaint of mine on this album)--or is that his snare with a annoying 'hollowed-out' sound? Not a great song. 5/10

3. "Build Us a Rocket Then..." (3:59)
begins with Heron again pounding away far to exclusively on his 'hollowed-out' snare as the band's chords play. The song as a whole is pretty decent were it not for that damned annoying snare. 6/10

4. "Oscar Acceptance Speech" (8:54)
begins with piano, treated voice and straight-time drum beat(!) An unusually sparse sonic treat in which space and emptiness play a huge role in setting mood. Nice vocal melody. Jazzy piano soli over treated percussion are very cool. Frippish guitar sound/soli from the 2:50 to 4:10 mark is also very cool. The multi-layered repetitive vocals with background vocal harmonies from 4:05 to 5:18 has a nice effect--one of the band's 'new' experiments. The chamber strings section from 5:25 to close is another experiment that adds greatly. 8/10

5. "Ransoms" (4:07)
begins as if we're in a bar listening to the opening song of blues-rock band. Very cool. Cymbols and soft vocals enter before the rest of the band also join in at the 1:00 mark. One of Oceansize's signature sounds is the soft tremolo strumming of electric guitar single- or multiple-strings. It is here used to great effect to give the vocal a kind of vocal cloud mattress. Overall, the song has a very DOVES feel to it?except for the bluesy guitar leads. Nice song. 7/10

6. "A Penny's Weight (3:38) begins with more ventures into multiple layered vocals?a very unusual and delicate song constructed around the vocal harmonies. (Unlisted in the album credits, I swear I hear the presence of a female b vocalist). The song has a kind of sound and feel not unlike THE CLIENTELE, PREFAB SPROUT, DREAM ACADEMY, and even old GENESIS. 'Nice' song?almost poppy. (Is Oceansize trying to generate radio play?a hit song?!) 9/10

7. "Silent/Transparent" (8:29)
begins with some steady cymbol play over syncopated drumming and C&W guitar arpeggios. A very delicately and intricately woven song develops in fullness. Backwards playing guitar soli beginning around the 2:00 mark give the song a FRIPP-SUMMERS kind of feel. Nice impassioned vocals throughout. Guitar solo backed by organ-sounding guitar playing at the 4:05 is so unlike this band. The whole song is so much more like a DOVES song ("Here It Comes," "There Goes the Fear," et al.) Very nice song. Here is the Oceansize that Iove best: delicate intricacies and subtleties within a hard rock feel. 9/10

8. "It's My Tail and I'll Chase It If I Want To" (3:36) begins as if one of the band's guitarists is just fooling around with some very simple arpeggios while the rest of his band mates get into position to start. Then WHAM! The full wall of sound enters?again sounding very much like MY BLOODY VALENTINE, KITCHENS OF DISTINCTION, RIDE, and THE TUBES--until the multilayered vocals enter. Wow!
The frenetic pace of all layers of the vocals--which continue to keep up their breakneck speed and volume for over a minute?are amazing, fresh and exciting. Ends with a very KITCHENS OF DISTINCTION section. Powerful song! 9/10

9. "Pine" (4:55)
is another song sounding very much like the softer side of RADIOHEAD or DOVES ("Northenden," "Zither," et al.) Very Jimmy Williams (DOVES)-like vocal. If only DOVES had a drummer one tenth as good as Mark Heron! Love the 'infinite guitar' sound and strings used in the background. Nice song. 7/10

10. "SuperImposter" (5:16) is another Texas-sounding song--even down to the drums--until the 1:00 mark when the chorus adds a few instruments to fill the soundscape. A pretty standard southern srock song until some of Oceansize's trademark warped sounds and chord/key changes occur at the 3:15 mark, giving the song a much heavier, eerie sound and feel. Final harmonized vocals sound almost BEATLE-esque (Abbey Road). 7/10

11. "Cloak" (3:41) starts with a very slow, subdued vocal, bass, and drums--almost JOY DIVISION feel--before piano and guitar join in to give it a bit more of a TOM WAITS feel. This song does very little for me--almost as if it isn't there. 5/10

I must admit, this album keeps growing on me the more I listen to it. My first reaction was "Where are you guys going?" but I'm now liking their turn to more standard song constructions and less of the hard-edged Post Rock stylings. 3.75 stars.

Addendum 10/15/2010: Repeated listens reveals the lack of substance beneath this album's thin veneer of pop-ness. 3.25 stars.

BrufordFreak | 3/5 |


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