Album Reviews

Oceansize – Effloresce

(Beggars Banquet) UK release date: 29 September 2003

Oceansize - Effloresce The scale of this debut album from Manchester’s Oceansize is apparent from the start of the second track Catalyst. A King Crimson-like flurry of guitars leads into a quiet/loud song pattern, irregular rhythms punctuate the music and singer Mike Vennart shows a certain vocal versatility. And that guitar sound! Pitched at a widescreen system, Catalyst contains more musical invention and twist than most albums do in their entirety.

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

Happily the welcome is rarely outstayed, particularly in the instrumentals that offer a welcome foil to the vocal-led guitar monsters. I Am The Morning is a great slow builder to start with; Rinsed is a blissed out amble that wouldn’t be out of place on a chillout compilation; and Unravel is suitably weird and impressionistic, its clever title indicating a sample of composer Maurice Ravel‘s Gaspard De La Nuit.

The most immediate among the vocal tracks is the majestic Amputee, whilst the mantra OneDay All This Could Be Yours is hammered relentlessly into your brain in an explosive coda. Massive Bereavement, almost a suite in the best progressive traditions, contains the line, “I’m still running for a bus that we missed years ago.” This is one of several lyrical gems on Effloresce.

With their broad harmonic language and fluctuating rhythms it’s difficult to give 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 as Muse and The Cooper Temple Clause, along with the more expansive end of Seattle grunge music.

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

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