Signing to a major after several years on an indie label can either prove a help or a hindrance to a rock band. In the endless task to make a band commercially viable in today’s society, songs are continually tweaked and this can sometimes result in a rather diluted version of the artist’s original identity. Luckily this is not the case for Essex rockers We Are The Ocean, whose sound has blossomed immensely on their latest release, Ark.
The album’s opening track Ark rings through like a gunshot, grabbing your attention from the start. As this track ebbs and flows through a symphonic landscape it takes you on an epic journey, and wouldn’t sound out of place on a film soundtrack; in particular, it would fit something like a superhero movie perfectly. The band continue to keep your attention during second track I Wanna Be, as front man Liam Crosby’s gravelly shouts of “I wanna be, I wanna be your lover” and punchy guitars give the song a sense of urgency throughout. Latter track Do It Together is also in a similar vein; a beautifully crafted piece of stadium rock, reminiscent of bands such as Foo Fighters.
A mellower side to the band is presented in Good For You, which is a seductive blues rock inspired track similar in places to Make It Wit Chu by Queens Of The Stone Age. The same moody blues-rock feel also continues through Shere Khan. While we’re talking about the mellow side to the We Are The Ocean, I should probably mention that there is a rather fantastic little chill out section about half way through the album, comprising of Hope You’re Well and Letter To Michael. Hope You’re Well is an emotional sing along similar to some of the tracks on their last album Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow. I imagine this will go down particularly well at their festival shows over the summer. Whereas, Letter To Michael is a heartfelt acoustic tribute that was written about Liam’s father.
The band take the tracks back up a gear for much of the remainder of the album, with energetic numbers like Holy Fire, Wild and The Midnight Law fitting snugly into the symphonic stadium rock theme that the band seem to have largely adapted throughout this album. However, perhaps two of my favourite tracks in the latter half of the album are the summery, funk inspired There’s Nothing Wrong, and gorgeously soulful closer Remember To Remember Them. Neither of these tracks really fit neatly on the album’s playlisting as they diverge from the overall sound, but it is a pleasant surprise and I personally I love this hearing yet another side to the band. Overall, Ark represents a matured sound for We Are The Ocean and I look forward to seeing them live at some festivals this summer.