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4 stars I'm trying not to pass early judgment on this album as I've only heard it a small handful of times so far, but there's really no doubt that Oceansize has crafted another excellent album.

Self Preserved While the Bodies Float Up (quite the mouthful, I must say) is the band's fourth full-length album. As always, the band showcases a wide variety of styles ranging from fast-paced and heavy (Build Us a Rocket Then ...) to atmospheric, layered, and emotional (Silent / Transparent). The tracks are generally shorter this time around, and I have to say at first I was a bit worried that the album would suffer because of this, but thankfully that's not the case here.

Oceansize's albums have always been growers for me, and I have no doubt in my mind that the same will apply for this album as well. It's not quite a masterpiece in my eyes just yet, but only time can really tell. I do, however, know that this is an excellent album deserving no less than four stars.

Report this review (#297291)
Posted Friday, September 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
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.)

Report this review (#299096)
Posted Monday, September 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
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.

Report this review (#300873)
Posted Wednesday, September 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars With a little bit of experience, it's possible for the average music lover to guess the genre of an album from its title and cover. In this case, massively long title with morbid themes and woodcut-style, black-and-white illustration hint at post-rock and post-metal. While this is not a sure-fire method, it is fairly accurate for this album.

Music on "Self-Preserved..." is, in a way, similar to the most recent efforts of post-metal bands such as Isis, but with an experimental side that borders on deconstruction. This is especially apparent in vocals, somehow reminiscent of Peter Hamill's work with Van der Graaf Generator.

The Isis influence is especially apparent on the first track, "Part Cardiac", as well as in the following one, "Superimposer", although to a lesser extent. What follows gets increasingly experimental; a piece such as "Build Us a Rocket Then", that starts with a lot of energy and then wanders about through different styles makes me feel as if they built said rocket out of a junkyard of Soviet-era sewing machines and analog calculators.

Even calmer tracks, such as "Oscar Acceptance Speech" or "A Penny's Weight", feature the deconstructed singing style, contributing to the feeling that Oceansize is trying to build an ambiance made of urban nightmares and weird things that go bump in the night, one step in H.P. Lovecraft and another in Philip K. Dick. "It's My Tail and I'll Chase it if I Want To" is a strange little piece that sounds as if the band wanted to steam out a bit.

Despite a few weaker spots, such as "Ransoms", this a very strong album, with one foot in many different genres (progressive rock, metal, post-rock) and a taste for not doing things by the book. It is a bit difficult to get into, but those who dare will be rewarded by a fresh look -- or listen -- to these genres.

Report this review (#301270)
Posted Friday, October 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars New Oceansize release is more or less what you're expecting from them. Or at least what I'm expecting from their new release.

This band was never known by experiments but from other hand they learned their lessons really well. Quality and very British sound, mixing Radiohead, Hawkwind, some indie rock elements, post rock,early Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree in one not very original, but quite comfortable mix.

As often with them compositions are quite faceless, but atmosphere is warm and pleasant. What means you like them when you're listening the album and will forget about them few hours later. Trying to make catchy songs, they even add some heavy riffs on some compositions (don't think it helps much though).

In all another PT/Radiohead clone with bigger doze of psychedelia in their sound. Not bad, but hardly interesting.

Report this review (#303721)
Posted Wednesday, October 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars "An astounding and eclectic modern album of epic proportions."

With 'Self Preserved While the Bodies Float Up,' Oceansize proves that even after more than ten years of activity, a band can still release incredible music. Yes, Oceansize are still going strong, and this is perhaps their most diverse album to date. 'Self Preserved While the Bodies Float Up' is a tasteful mixture of progressive rock of old, post-rock, sludge-metal, melancholic pop-rock, and high-energy rock in general.

Everything on this album is spot-on: the vocals, the lyrics, the amazing signature Oceansize-style drums, the triple-guitar attack and the thumping bass. Oceansize are as tasteful as ever on this release, trading the usual 8 minute song length for a few more subdued numbers. To loosely describe the album, it sounds a bit like if 'Frames' was to be combined with 'Everyone into Position,' yet created something wholly better and more original. Don't let this fool you, Oceansize still remain highly adventurous and can do what most bands can only accomplish in 8-10 minute songs in less than 5. An example of this is the powerful, yet shorter-than-usual, "It's My Tail and I'll Chase It If I Want To." This track displays an onslought of fast guitars in almost hardcore-punk fashion, yet therein lies a melodic undertone amidst the screamed phrases. Certainly one of the most outstanding tracks from the album.

"Part Cardiac" is a new one for the band in that its style is very unique. When Oceansize are slow, they're usually melodic and post-rocky, and when they're fast, the band can be quite brutal in a Meshuggah-ish way (see Frames [album], "Sleeping Dogs and Dead Lions."). But "Part Cardiac" is the exception: Oceansize are extremely heavy and sludgy on this track. The track reminds me of Mastodon or perhaps Meshuggah ridiculously slowed down to a doom-metal tempo.

Standout tracks include: (*****) "Part Cardiac," "Build Us a Rocket Then...," "Ransoms," "SIlent/Transparent," "It's My Tail and I'll Chase It If I Want To," and "Superimposter."

(****) "Oscar Acceptance Speech," "A Penny's Weight," and "Pine."

If you're an Oceansize fan, you already have this album. If you enjoy Oceansize, I definitely suggest that you go out and buy the album now; it is essential listening. This album clearly shows that Oceansize grow stronger and more eclectic every time they collectively make a piece of music. Overall, this is an incredible and heartfelt album. Please listen to it.

9.6 / 10

Report this review (#305809)
Posted Wednesday, October 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Oceansize started as an atmospheric rock band that combined majestic post-rock with a keen sense for catchy indie tunes. The preceding album Frames, a good 3 years ago already, announced a new direction, with more metal and a more technical rhythmic approach. Now the long wait is over.

Judging from the first track, the band seems to fully indulge in their love for Soundgarden, it's great heavy doom rock with loud vocals and an instant success for me. I could handle a whole album of this but the remainder of the album is less metallic, and not always equally successful. I blame it on the limited variation in the vocals, they go by without much memorable moments and make the album too monotonous, with lots of songs lacking identity and heart, despite the emo leanings of the voice.

The songwriting sticks to guitar based indie-rock with some limited Prog influences, most notable in the time signatures and some vague Porcupine Tree influences, both in songwriting and sound, but you won't find any song or any arrangement that's even half as good as a PT one.

There hasn't been much PA commotion around the release of this album, and admitted, it doesn't offer anything I get excited about. I can only listen to few songs at once when picking up this album. The problem is that while they are quite good individually, there's a monotony that makes the full length album a dull listen. 3 stars of the less twinkling kind.

Report this review (#341326)
Posted Friday, December 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
5 stars 'Self-Preserved While The Bodies Float Up' - Oceansize (9/10)

Luckily gracing my ears a few days before 2010 wrapped up, this album by Manchester rock ensemble Oceansize rose quickly up through my top ten, ultimately placing second only to Alcest's 'Écailles De Lune'. Taking part in the more modern sound of progressive rock, this UK group could easily be compared to the sound of giants such as Porcupine Tree, but truly come onto their own and escape any other band's shadow, as is demonstrated by the verbosely titled 'Self-Preserved While The Bodies Float Up'.

Throughout each of the album's ten tracks, Oceansize maintains their keen ability to combine prog rock, pop, sludge metal, and even punk together into one comprehensive fifty minute journey. Starting things off on it's heaviest moment, 'Part Cardiac' is a perfectly abrasive introduction to the music here, although the album rarely reprises the same doomy riffs again. As a rule, the music here is more technical and heavy than what Oceansize is normally used to doing, although there are some lighter, ethereal moments to the album as well. 'Oscar Acceptance Speech' for example, is an atmospheric piano voyage reminiscent of Danish alt- proggers Mew. Along with the rest of the album's middle-section (including the slightly jazzy 'Ransoms', the post-rock ballad 'A Penny's Weight' and the epic highlight of the album 'Silent/Transparent') things are kept quite mellow, before getting heavy once again with the highly punk-inspired 'It's My Tail And I'll Chase It If I Want To'.

Overall, the album comes out to being one of the most consistent to be released in 2010, made less than perfect simply due to the fact that the band seems to draw upon the tricks and style conventions of other bands over innovating their own. Oceansize may not be the most original modern progressive rock band out there, but with this album, dare I say they are one of the best.

Report this review (#381403)
Posted Monday, January 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars The higher the quality of one's past works, the greater the expectations for the future. So high is the standard of Oceansize's previous three albums, that the risk of disappointment was always present. Not to give up without a fight, Oceansize have nonetheless produced an excellent album.

The songs are shorter, more concise, and perhaps more "alt rock" sounding than truly progressive in some cases. That has stopped them throwing in a couple of epics, and these are inevitably the standout tracks, at least for me.

Oceansize manage, nonetheless, to be impressively potent in 3 or 4 minutes. The first three tracks and 'It's my tail..." are heavy, bass driven and fall perfectly into this category.

'Ransoms', while a great song, feels slightly out of place here with its slow pace and tender, emotional vocals. And here we find the main problem with "Self Preserved..." : the tracklisting. There is no real flow, and the listener is left with a collection of songs rather than a whole. Perhaps if the heavier tracks had been spread out more evenly rather than being grouped at the beginning (with the exception of 'It's my tail...'), a better balance might have been achieved.

Thankfully, the closer is well chosen. While not as epic as Oceansize's previous closing tracks, 'SuperImposter' has just the right feel and leaves the listener satisfied.

Once again, Oceansize has demonstrated exceptional musicianship and excellent songwriting, let down slightly by a lack of flow throughout the album. "Self Preserved..." is still one of the best albums of 2010, but it is a little shy of a full on masterpiece.

Report this review (#384097)
Posted Friday, January 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars I'm very much a latecomer when it comes to Oceansize. Not only have been completely ignorant to their existence until the release of Self Preserved While The Bodies Float Up (try saying that title five times in a row!) but I also began listening to the album as a preparation for what would be the band's final tour. The whole arrangement of the show here in Stockholm was somewhat of a mess; Not only was there a complete lack of promotion for the event, I happened to stumble upon it through a bleak post on, but also the fact that it was a completely free gig really didn't sit right with me. It might seem ignorant to complain for experiencing a free live gig on a Sunday night but my concern had more to do with the band's promoters who presumably weren't that good at their jobs. Fortunately, Oceansize didn't disappoint me with their live performance which did succeed to spark my interested in the band and it wasn't long until I really sunk my teeth into their material.

Self Preserved While The Bodies Float Up might be considered underwhelming for the long time fans of the band who prefer its predecessor Frames. Yes, the songs are shorter but they are also a bit more direct in their approach and the atmospheric soundscapes aren't as spectacular. Plus, the versatility of the band's repertoire is even more prominent here than what it was on Frames. Still, all these factors manage to somehow become advantages for a rookie like me since the overall result is a much more interesting album that really grew on me with each new visit.

I mentioned in my review of Frames that Oceansize hasn't exactly been a band that managed to completely blow me out of water with their approach to music. There are some qualities that I enjoy and others not so much, but the final result is definitely pleasant enough for me to explore even in the future.

**** star songs: Part Cardiac (4:10) SuperImposer (4:15) Build Us a Rocket Then..." (3:59) Oscar Acceptance Speech (8:54) A Penny's Weight (3:38) Silent/Transparent (8:29) Pine (4:55) SuperImposter (5:16)

*** star songs: Ransoms (4:07) It's My Tail and I'll Chase It If I Want To (3:36)

Report this review (#434657)
Posted Sunday, April 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Giving an opinion on an Oceansize album is a difficult job. If Everyone Into Position was their attempt at pleasing the masses (and it was) then follow-upFrames was a band unleashed into the wild, attempting to do everything within the space of 50 minutes, resulting in an incoherent album that had peaks, but often languished in overzealous ambition. With that burst of conscience-free music past, Self Preserved While the Bodies Float Up is, fortunately, a much more coherent affair. This is a band at its best when crafting atmosphere as well as solid songs, something they should have stuck to after nailing it on their debut record Effloresce. It has taken seven years to achieve that sensation again, although Self Preserved treads a much murkier template than the lighter mood of the debut. A top-loaded opening trio shows how little effort the Manchester group require to write devastatingly heavy tracks, and in their older years they've compressed this density to create a hard-hitting opening that sits nicely alongside the band's heavier contemporaries. The riffs are more subdued than on the likes of 'Homage to a Shame' and yet they leave an unmistakably stronger imprint on the mind. But after this initial flurry, old habits resurface and the familiarly lucid Oceansize makes its introduction on 'Oscar Acceptance Speech'. A twinkling piano line strings along the disparate sections of guitar and rhythm, leading to a delicately poised conclusion that completely slows the pace of the album down; a shallow breath amongst the suffocating blitz. Self Preserved is unlikely to put Oceansize on the same pedestal as the likes of Muse and Biffy Clyro ? a position that a few years ago they may have been more enthusiastic to attain ? but realistically that would destroy the band anyway. This record proves they're better at pleasing themselves than the masses, and that's the attitude that has finally sunk in on this record. They show a breadth of musicianship that sees the album swinging from that sludgy opening salvo to softer, more intricate pieces such as 'Silent/Transparent', an eight- minute track that uses that time to twist and contort into many different shapes and sounds before reaching a juddering conclusion. A note must go to Vennart's vocal performance. The rage heard in previous albums has dissipated a great deal, replaced with a less attention-seeking delivery. His vocals, and the lyrics embedded within them, take longer to make a memorable impression on the mind but over repeated listens the variety he puts into the role blossoms into a cornerstone of emotional performance, Vennart judging the mood of each track to perfection. Self Preserved While the Bodies Float Up is Oceansize's masterpiece. It embodies everything the band has been trying to achieve in over a decade of recording, and only now with the combination of maturity, experience and the acceptance that you just can't please everybody, has the band fully realised its potential. Self Preserved is a consistent and engaging listen, and while the band's previous efforts were certainly rewarding, the attention to detail shown here makes Self Preserved much more so. Now that Oceansize are doing it for themselves ? and not to satiate a shallow demographic that they feel they should appeal to ? the results are more pleasing than ever.
Report this review (#937524)
Posted Sunday, March 31, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars All's well that ends decently, I guess.

Oceansize's first three albums are pretty well balanced as far as sound goes. Their unique blend of ambient shoegaze interspersed with heavy interludes and breakdowns was a nice niche as far as modern British prog rock outfits go, and their final album here isn't bad here. The only difference is that this album just isn't as cohesive as the others.

"Part Cardiac", the intro song, is rather obnoxious. It's loud from beginning to end, it doesn't change at all, and there's a certain frequency being played that irritates my ears. It's literally unlistenable, otherwise I feel like I'm getting tinnitus just from listening to it. "Superimposer" feels like a bit of a nod to early 90's emo groups like American Football and Mineral, but it still just seems a bit too loud. Even "Build Us A Rocket Then" would be a great technical song if it were mixed just a bit softer.

"Oscar Acceptance Speech" feels a bit more like classic Oceansize; lengthy, dramatic, soft atmospheres with heavy droning, while "Ransoms" is a nice ballad interlude of sorts, although "A Penny's Weight" is just as soft and cushy. Two songs in stark contrast from the first few.

"Silent/Transparent" also begins with a very American Football-esque sound, until the drama increases and builds like a classic post-rock track (think Explosions in the Sky), slowly building from soft to loud, while "It's my Tail and I'll Chase It If I Want To" is a bit more schizophrenic. "Pine" is a pleasant, almost catchy tune, while "Superimposter" and "Cloak" end the album from mellower to mellowest.

All around, apart from "Part Cardiac", the rest of the album is just fine. There aren't any real standouts or memorable tracks, but they're all fine on rotation. The biggest problem is the lack of cohesion and track listing. Loud and soft tracks are bunched together and few songs on the album balance both like previous albums. It seems like a classic example of band members trying to write in different directions in the same song, which could make sense why the band broke up.

It's a shame, really, but Oceansize made some good tunes throughout its brief career. Just a shame their last album ended with a whimper instead of a bang.

Report this review (#2268352)
Posted Friday, October 11, 2019 | Review Permalink

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