Self Preserved While the Bodies Float Up
01. Part Cardiac
03. Build Us A Rocket Then…
04. Oscar Acceptance Speech
06. A Penny’s Weight
08. It’s My Tail And I’ll Chase It If I Want To
[Superball Music | 09/14/10]
After a fortnight of finding little to write about, I thought I would take the chance to review an album released this year that I consider to be one of my favourites. I will acknowledge here that I may be slightly taking advantage of the lack of specification of the word “heavy” in this site’s name, but do so well within reason.
Oceansize’s 4th full length record, Self Preserved While The Bodies Float Up (henceforth referred to as “Self”) was released this September to rapturous critical acclaim. It demonstrates, in part, a noticeable evolution of their sound from the post-rock that marked their earlier releases, through the prog/alternative of the records preceding this, and into a style now encompassing modern sludge and post metal.
It is in this progression to heavier avenues that this album really shines. The first 3 tracks all open with heavy, riff-driven assaults, fading into softer more careful and meandering progressions. Maintained clean vocals throughout serve the music well and often (to me at least) invoke clear similarities to The Ocean’s seminal Heliocentric. The balance between heavy and soft seems to be somewhat of a hot button in modern metal and this band exemplifies quite how it can be pulled off, with little to no jarring changes of pace.
One can be too dotingly positive about an album they look forward to and Self is certainly not without its faults. The strong start struggles somewhat to maintain momentum and the record noticeably tails off towards its conclusion. Though the forceful nature of earlier tracks is revitalized on occasion, such as in highlight track “It’s My Tail And I’ll Chase It If I Want To”, it never quite regains the impression it creates upon an initial listen.
Such faults aside, it is the feeling of completeness and fullness of sound that place Self towards the top end of my albums for 2010. Every song seems written with the utmost care and consideration, to produce carefully crafted soundscapes and sprawling progressions, while largely avoiding the pitfalls of repetitiveness and contrived nature of so much post rock and metal. If you fancy some noticeable variation in a year marked by numerous, impressive –core releases, I would strongly recommend Self as an album to provide a very different and varied experience.