EP REVIEW: River Becomes Ocean – December

Brighton’s River Becomes Ocean came onto the scene two years ago to early critical acclaim with their debut EP The World Around Me, and this second short-length release is another great showcase for their potential.

December is full of big, cinematic post-hardcore, recalling Bring Me The Horizon‘s brand of raw, harsh rock with a flair for the dramatic. That sound is shown best on lead single and standout track Seven, with the song built around a version of the classic nursery rhyme One For Sorrow. There’s no innocence here though, and the children’s choir brought in on supporting vocals make for a haunting end to what is already a pretty dark song. It’s little touches like that which provide lots of the EP’s best moments: there’s a strange, glitchy electronic sound in the beginning of Lies which is quite unsettling, and both We Will and Buried At Sea use chanted, almost choral vocals in much the same way as Thirty Seconds To Mars, another band who love a bit of melodrama.

Lyrically December is mostly dark and full of hurt, save for opening track We Will which is more like the band’s call to arms, urging themselves to push on and “make this world our own.” Lies is more typical – the chorus line “I don’t wanna fight anymore for something that can’t be restored” is sung with such weary resignation that it feels like he really has been fighting forever. There’s variety in the track’s vocals which is used to great effect to put this across even more, with frontman Marvin McMahon‘s voice straining in the verse before he builds to a scream and finally a death growl as the song hits its huge climax.

The EP ends with a bit of a curveball: For Now is a break-up song that swaps the heavy, overdriven guitars for a cleaner sound – acoustic guitar, piano and no drums to speak of at all – and ends with a duet with a female vocalist, her repeated refrain of “don’t give up on us” contrasted beautifully with Marvin‘s “forgive me… goodbye for now.” It’s a totally unexpected outpouring of emotion, and it shows just how much growth and development there has been in this band in the past two years. If they keep going at this rate, it definitely won’t be long before the rivers of support turn into oceans.


Standout Track: Seven

For Fans Of: Bring Me The Horizon, Thirty Seconds To Mars, PVRIS

Written By: Josh Prentice

Josh Prentice
23 year-old indie and alt rock obsessive.