Barnsley’s Cocean have been described as melodious, beautiful, heartfelt pop, wonderfully infectious and a band brimming with ideas. However, until now, I’d never actually heard any of their material before, but going on those descriptions I was definitely looking forward to it.
Having formed back in 2007, the five piece have garnered a number of good reviews from music rags of their previous EPs; and now with a refreshed lineup including ex-Rolo Tomassi bassist Joseph Thorpe on board, the band now launch their debut album Tell Tall Stories.
It kicks off as you’d want it to; with beautiful, spiralling guitars ringing out to the lyric ‘the footprints left, they all point to you’ and it’s lush and vast and is one of those journeys similarly taken by Explosions in the Sky. Here is a sound that not only encompasses this five piece’s very obvious individual talents but also incorporates an ample array of samples, crackling static noises and atmospheric sounds.
Tracks like Into the Scenery and All I’m Breathing For with their shuffling beats, twirling piano and fragile vocals evoke many of the best elements of bands like Death Cab for Cutie and Jeniferever. Try starts off all lullaby-like with twinkling, twilight keys but ends up with a much heavier and epic sound compared to everything else that is on display here.
Through the Glass; although the climatic drums edge towards triumphant, the track ends up being a little too much of the same for me and other than the handclaps that appear intermittently throughout the album (which I am definitely not a fan of) the majority of what we have here is pretty damn impressive.
Highlights are most definitely Where The Lie Ends with its military precision drums akin Explosions in the Sky; and Raised By Salt, whose mid-section is pure atmospheric and anthemic rock and Puzzle… well, it’s the finest and most experimental track on the album and it kicks off with a cacophony of rustling samples and swells and threatens to go to a much darker place than everything that went before it but stop just before it does, retaining that safe, dream-like sound that runs throughout the album.
Honestly… I hoped that Cocean were going to similar Godspeed-esque dark places that The Hope of States did on The Lost Riots or Mogwai’s Special Moves but that’s just my personal tastes. They clearly have the abilities and the songs but maybe that isn’t for them.
However, what we do have here is a very first rate ambient post rock record. In Ross they have a tender and excellent vocalist, whose heartfelt lyrics are underpinned by a percussion and keyboard sound that sits comfortably somewhere in-between Explosions in the Sky and Jeniferever. Every single performance here is first rate and they are definitely, the main contender to knock iLiKETRAiNS from their Yorkshire post-rock perch.
nb. Since I had the pleasure of reviewing this album a number of months back, Cocean has since disbanded and will play their last gig at The Cedar Room on September 14th.
Tell Tall Stories is available to download or stream now from cocean.bandcamp.com and is a real testement to just how good they were.
Find more about Cocean on the following sites: