Bands that stick too closely to their “sound” can fall into a rut, especially on the third try. After fans hear the “sound” twice before, the luster wears off and it can come off as underwhelming. But not so with Being as an Ocean’s self-titled album, the follow up to their sophomore 2014 release, How We Both Wondrously Perish. Fans will instantly recognize the familiar post-hardcore base that blends together spoken word, screams and silky-smooth clean vocals.
And in this case, that’s a good thing.
There are some slight changes as the band enters into a breakout year. Bouncing off of their previous album, this release brings in more singing than their first album, 2012’s Dear G-d, and the clean vocals have improved since their second album. Michael McGough seamlessly slips in and out of Joel Quartuccio’s gritty screams, bringing gentle notes to the vocals, reminiscent of Issues’ clean vocalist Tyler Carter.
Standout tracks include “Little Richie” (a thunderous and satisfactory start to the album), “The Zealot’s Blindfold” (a catchy chorus and intriguing religious lyrical content), “Judas, Our Brother” (a thrilling track that fluctuates between segments of Quartuccio’s screaming and McGough’s soft crooning) and “…And Their Consequences” (an epic finale filled with choir vocals with an outro that can compared to Anberlin’s “*fin”).
A warning: Do not skip tracks. They are not filler, and they tell a fascinating story — often with religious undertones — and are well worth the listener’s time.
Being as an Ocean is a great release for it’s simplicity. And it succeeds not because it sets new trends for the genre, but because the band continues to create gorgeous melodies set to compelling lyrics delivered in a genuine, passionate manner. If they plan to use the same formula for a fourth release, they will be in the danger zone. For now, they walked the traditional tightrope again without any major repercussions, in fact, creating a lasting and relevant album for the band’s canon.