The A to Z of Great British Rock: O is for Oceansize

Posted on April 12, 2013


O is for Oceansize

This is a pretty bloody easy one to write to be honest. Even if this was an A to Z of International Rock, this would still be a shoe in. Oceansize were a level above the rest of their ilk. They did post rock, metal, alternative rock, everything a heavy guitar chap would want, and they did it fantastically. Their first album ‘Effloresce’, was a stunning display of this. ‘Catalyst’ provided the ballsy riffage, I’ve had ‘One Day All This Could Be Yours’ in my head for years, the bleed into ‘Amputee’ was a dream and the closing trio of ‘Women Who Love Men Who Love Drugs’, ‘Saturday Morning Breakfast Show’ and ‘Long Forgotten’ was prog rock thrust balls and brain first into the 21st century. ‘Everyone Into Position’ was album two, and despite a few second album syndrome issues it had moments of genuine genius. ‘The Charm Offensive’ is as good an album opener as you will find, ‘Heaven Alive’ is the bands best chorus by far, ‘Music for a Nurse’ is their prettiest song and tell me a single thing that is wrong with ‘Ornament/The Last Wrongs’.

‘Frames’ was album 3, and I’m sure you can guess how this went. Glory from start to end, with ‘Commemorative … T-Shirt’ taking up ‘The Charm Offensive’ reigns, ‘Sleeping Dogs and Dead Lions’ absolutely kills and the second half of ‘The Frame’, oh the second half of ‘The Frame’. Fourth album ‘Self Preserved Whilst the Bodies Float Up’ never really reached these heights, but most other bands would still burn for a fifth of its quality. ‘Part Cardiac’ and ‘SuperImposer’ are a formidable album opening duo, and there is plenty more wonder throughout.

All this without mentioning ‘Walking in the Air’, probably the greatest christmas cover ever.

What was there not to love? I absolutely adore a band that has 3 guitarists and uses them accordingly. There was no such thing as a boring Oceansize guitar line, they would weave in and out of each other like this was Explosions in the Sky or something. Mike Vennart managed to plant some of the finest vocal melodies of the era on top of this mesh, with the kind of voice that I would love to possess. Finally, the drums. Oh the drums. My god, the drums. I love air drumming, but air drumming to Oceansize is pretty darn difficult, it is just that intricate, tight and boner inducing talented.

This was a band of wonder and glory. Gone, but not forgotten.

Posted in: A to Z, Music