ALBUM REVIEW: Being As An Ocean – Proxy: An A.N.I.M.O Story
Photo Credit: Ashley Osborn
When Being As An Ocean first burst on to the scene in 2011 they quickly set about carving a niche for themselves with their exciting blend of post/melodic hardcore sensibilities, with beautifully written spoken word sections threaded through. The band’s first three releases were met with critical acclaim and the band went from strength to strength. However, the groups fourth release, Waiting For The Morning To Come, was not met with the same praise, with the band swapping out the more hardcore elements of their sound and replacing them with an almost synth-pop vibe – dividing fans and critics alike.
Their latest release, Proxy: An A.N.I.M.O Story, sees the band attempting to right the wrongs that were made on their previous outing. From the very outset the change is clear in the first full track, Play Pretend, with the brief introduction giving way to a simple, heavily distorted section which is far more in keeping with the band’s earlier work. The vocal exchanges between Joel Quartuccio and Michael McGough have always been one of the best selling points of Being As An Ocean, and that is no more apparent than in this first real taste of new music. The overall sound sees the band moving in a similar direction that Bring Me The Horizon did with their 2015 release That’s The Spirit, laying down one of their biggest choruses to date.
Find Our Way has a beautifully tranquil introduction before diving into a layered distorted section and an almost RnB styled verse, which displays how much the band have matured in their songwriting over the years and know exactly how to negotiate their way through multiple transitions in a track, making them appear seamless.
One of the notable differences to Being As An Ocean’s sound is the marked improvement in the singing voice of Quartuccio, who has come on leaps and bounds since the band’s inception. It means that they can add yet another layer of melody to their sound without having to flirt too much with cheesy synths and the like. This is clear on the poppy, mid-tempo Tragedy and in the brilliant trade off with McGough on the following song, Skin, which showcases both of the singer’s abilities wonderfully.
Unfortunately after that the album takes a turn for the monotonous. Songs such as B.O.Y and Lowlife (Ode To The Underworld) plod along in the same way as the previous two, yet lack the originality and poignancy. Any momentum that had been created up to this point gets stifled as a result and unfortunately it couldn’t come at a worst time, as the middle section of an album is the point where most people tend to lose interest nowadays.
This theme remains for the rest of the album, with tracks such as Watch Me Bleed and the title track continuing on with the same pace and style. This all feels very thrown together rather than the exploring the features that were so promising in the first half of the release.
Being As An Ocean continue to be one of the most frustrating bands in the scene. They have all of the tools and know-how to be forerunners and have decided to piece together an album here that feels bloated, overproduced and wholly generic. Another misstep for a band that could be so much more.
Standout Tracks: Play Pretend, Find Our Way
For Fans Of: Bring Me The Horizon, Touché Amore, La Dispute
Written by: Richard Webb