Oceansize - Effloresce
In this twenty-first century age of file-swapping and diminishing sales, it’s a struggle for any band to make money or to wrestle their name to the centre of the music stage. Most bands settle for recycling old styles or rehashing old songs, and only some manage to create themselves an entirely fresh sound.
Oceansize weigh in with Effloresce, an epic debut album timed at over seventy minutes. In terms of scale and progressive propensity the Manchester based band certainly live up to their name, but take away the crashing heavy guitar chunks or the broody Radiohead-Bends style jingling and you are left with a bloated album of little substance. Effloresce is so schizophrenic and so damned long, that the listener settles into one guitar-distortion-driven state of mind with the band, only to then be thrown headfirst into another without any warning; back-and-forth and back-and-forth until over an hour is taken from your life. Listen to Catalyst or Massive Bereavement and you’ll quickly spot that Effloresce is just twelve parodies of Paranoid Android.
Out of the twelve cuts on the album, it’s apparent that few stand out above the rest. The rambling instrumental facets of Effloresce heavily overweigh any killer chorus or potential anthems for the band. They are simply too derivative to be classed as a contender in any of their target fields. Remember Where You Are certainly is the best track, and has massive potential as the single choice, with it’s powerful driving vocal by lead singer Mike Vennart. On the whole, Vennart’s vocals are sadly buried too deep into the album mix to ever carve out his own niche in your memory, which leaves his contributions completely forgettable.
It’s when you listen to instrumental filler Unravel that it becomes obvious of the filmic potential for portions of the album, and yet sadly, in one’s stereo, these tracks are undistinguished. Even so, Effloresce is certainly an album greater than the sum of its parts, and is destined to appeal to many an eighteen-year-old whose record collection lacks other, more superior classics.
Easily, the album could have been cut to forty five minutes and some of the band’s edge, and unquestionable guitar talent, would have remained on the record. As it stands, Effloresce finishes in a weaker position than all of its obvious influences, although it can rest assured that there is a fanbase out there ready to lap up this release. If they can lose some self-indulgence and start taken some badly-needed musical risks, then their second album could be the making of them. You’d be advised to wait till then.