So telling is We, the Oceanographers’ quirkiness, that they begin their debut album with an apparently banal interaction between core band members, Conal McIntyre and Joseph Edwards. Questioning and lamenting the sharpness of his timing, the protagonist digresses to begin “Overcoming Foxes” and leaves us wondering if there is a subtext to the exchange, considering the Dundalk band’s Art Music background and humble beginnings playing cafés and art centres after forming last year.
The track proves to be as gentle an intro as one could hope for. It’s tempo rarely fluctuates, instead treating us to a slow, boat-ride-on-a-canal type of song, soothed by the simple but effective guitar picking and gentle vocals.
If the premiere song is a soft awakening, then the second, “Dream of Spring”, is a gentle morning jog to shift the momentum up. It employs synth to add texture to the song, but gently, to ensure the tranquillity is maintained.
“Same Old Story” is a further lift, as a rolling beat holds up the song’s tempo throughout. We begin to see the band’s ability to create ambiances that behold a similar, relaxed tone in each track while still maintaining their own individual charm. “This Is Why” again plays with a floating synth and soft guitar riffs adding surreal lyrics to end with the result of another beautiful song.
“The Ocean” provides a lesson in onomatopoeia as we are reminded of the fluidity and coolness of its namesake. Pouring notes over seemingly ubiquitous vibrations and rhythm-setting drums, the melody does not overpower the vocals, and vice versa. “Altoeen” is a slow, building song that displays how minute touches and caresses to a song can be of paramount significance to a track’s overall sound.
We experience a rise in tone with the penultimate journey of the album in “You’ll Be So Much Brighter”, before entering the final leg. “Cats and Dogs” is 12:27 long and is the slightly eccentric statement that makes the band more likeable as it fades out to the sound of old analogue radio interference. It is in keeping with the rest of the record, providing moving, pleasant and introspective music that does not disappoint. It is clear from the album that this is a band who know who they are as musicians.
Throughout the album We, The Oceanographers show they are not willing to compromise on their musical taste, nor should they, as their combined effort has produced a truly serene result. Their songs do not scream to be heard, or beg for attention but they are a confident creation and don’t try to be anything they’re not. While these tracks may not compete for radio time, they certainly deserve it as the band has released an album full of personal and intimately created songs, that when heard live will exhibit their true potential.
The album is available now on Bandcamp.
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