Album Reviews

Oceansize – Effloresce

(Beggars Banquet) UK release date: 29 September 2003

The scale of this debut albumfrom Manchester’s Oceansize is apparent fromthe start of the second track Catalyst. A KingCrimson-like flurry of guitars leads into aquiet/loud song pattern, irregular rhythms punctuatethe music and singer Mike Vennart shows a certainvocal versatility. And that guitar sound! Pitched at awidescreen system, Catalyst contains more musicalinvention and twist than most albums do in their entirety.

Unfortunately, that’s also where my main criticismof Oceansize lies – in their excess. The album lasts afull 76 minutes, which you mathematicians will be ableto equate to more than six minutes playing time pertrack.

Happily the welcome is rarely outstayed,particularly in the instrumentals that offer a welcomefoil to the vocal-led guitar monsters. I Am TheMorning is a great slow builder to start with; Rinsedis a blissed out amble that wouldn’t be out of placeon a chillout compilation; and Unravel is suitably weird andimpressionistic, its clevertitle indicating a sample of composer Maurice Ravel‘sGaspard De La Nuit.

The most immediate among the vocaltracks is the majestic Amputee, whilst the mantra OneDay All This Could Be Yours is hammered relentlesslyinto your brain in an explosive coda. MassiveBereavement, almost a suite in the best progressivetraditions, contains the line, “I’m still running for abus that we missed years ago.” This is one of several lyricalgems on Effloresce.

With their broad harmoniclanguage and fluctuating rhythms it’s difficult togive an alternative to Oceansize, which is always a good sign.If pushed I would say they’ve taken a good liking to’70s rock but taken on board the works of bands such asMuse and The Cooper Temple Clause, alongwith the more expansive end of Seattle grunge music.

Yes, Effloresce is too long, but crucially Oceansize supply quality aswell as quantity.

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More on Oceansize
Oceansize – Frames
Oceansize @ Islington Academy, London
Oceansize – Everyone Into Position
Interview: Oceansize
Oceansize – Effloresce