Since their 1998 formation in Manchester, England, Mike Vennart (Guitar/ lead vocals) Steven Hodson (bass/keyboards), Mark Heron (Drums) Steve Durose (guitar/backing vocals) and Richard “Gambler” Ingram (guitar, keyboards), have been producing their brand of psychedelic progressive rock under the name Oceansize. With their latest EP “Home and Minor”, the group presents what they call “a rather unusual collection of their more settled numbers”.
First track Legal Teens blooms out of a digitized soundscape into delicate falsetto vocal lines and syncopated drum patterns. Characterized by layered sounds and hypnotizing rhythm, “Home and Minor” will be accessible to fans of other Brit rock bands like Radiohead. The tracks ends deteriorating into a chorus of trailing off buzzing distortions.
“Getting Where Water Cannot is more immediately recognizable as a rock song . The drums play quietly, but with marked intensity underlying the relaxed and flowing vocal lines of Mike Vennart. Again featuring heavily layered arranging, this EP rewards repeated listening, revealing more nuance and subtle touches with each repetition. While the band describes this collection of songs as “more settled”, the tracks artfully build in intensity, and sound like complete ideas dynamically without ever sounding like a collection of lullabies.
Monodrones dips heavily into psychedelia with chord changes dripping in rich sounds effects that melt together almost hiding the point where one note ends and another begins.
Home and Minor is a contemplative piece overflowing with dynamic range. On first listen this track sounds like a heavily produced church hymn performed by a rock band. The vocals are filtered with a brilliant effect that enhances the catharsis of the melodies, and will likely serve as the soundtrack to endless reminisces and reflections in the hearts and minds of listeners. This is the kind of music to be listened to at the end of a long week, weaving thoughts together as they travel in the wake of every note played.
Didnealand follows in the same vain as Home and Minor. This 3 minute piece could be seen as the resolution, or short afterthought to the 8 minute track it succeeds.
To punctuate the end of this short, yet in depth romp through the subdued U.K progressive rock of Oceansize, The Strand is an 8 minute journey similar in form to Home and Minor, with a strong drum presence and a less optimistic tone about it.
Overall Oceansize’s lastest EP has presently surprised me. Far surpassing my anticipations of it being an acid soaked snooze-fest, Home and Minor is an interesting collection of music both for the technical merits of the band, and cerebral nature of listening that it demands.
For Listeners of:
Getting Where Water Cannot
Home and Minor