Oceans are Zeroes impinge a power-pop sensibility on the hugest Mogwai-meets-Mercury Rev songs imaginable creating a wall of rock sound backdrop behind high and steely vocals. The initial effect is to be bowled over by a veritable tsunami of sound, breaking on the beaches and throwing out sparkling rockets rather than more humdrum flotsam and jetsam. It’s infectious and initially exhilarating, such an insistent rush of music. Vocals echo around as if sung in a vast underground chamber, drums explode, guitars sing. It’s anthemic, never more so than on the opener Back to the Place which enters stealthily on rustling, chirping, cricket sounds with soft crackles like firewood on a camp fire whilst insects buzz under a vast and open star studded sky which then explodes in a series of super nova explosions.
There’s a theme running throughout the album of love lost and unregained, regrets at mistakes made and a rather shiny melancholic despair. Hollow is the stand-out representative of that last with the desperate refrain “I’m hollow, I’m hollow inside / As I go walking into the light / And I’m wishing you were here / Standing next to me / Oh I’m wishing you could see what you’ve been doing to me”, sounding evermore like Chris Martin as the song progresses. This is very much Oceans are Zeroes’ Coldplay moment. Fugue State, which proceeds it, drifts into something of a soft proggy feel, reminiscent in places of The Alan Parsons Project circa Ammonia Avenue – perfectly radio acceptable and catchy but ultimately little more than the shiny chrome of the arrangement.
Oceans are Zeroes have certainly brought a series of rock strands together on their debut album, and the energy of the album generally carries the songs over any lyrical weaknesses. It’s music that could fill a huge venue. The album invites the listener on a thrill ride of a journey through heartbreak, and it does delivers plenty of excitement along the way.
Baby, don’t panic – it’s only the end of the world again.