Picture this: you are at a beach. It is sunset. You are alone. The water gently moves back and forth against the sand. You are staring at it. A slightly larger wave pushes the edge of the water that much further, and then it recedes once more, quickly as it came. Your gaze remains fixed. You are very sad about something.
Now the sky is getting darker, and the gentle music of the waves seems to somehow follow suit. The sun is now at the very edge of the horizon. The sadness has now diffused across your body rather than remaining a subtle burning sensation in your chest. You feel cold and warm at the same time. The water continues its slow movement.
Our Oceans is a new band fronted by Tymon Kruidenier of Exivious and Cynic fame, and also features two other members from the former, so they’re certainly not new to the progressive fold; on their self-titled debut, however, they seem to be pioneering what is an undeniably original sound. While Our Oceans is certainly a singer/songwriter album on the surface, the jazz-like off-kilter progressions, gorgeous fretless bass work, and sparse yet powerful percussive backing betrays much more complex musical foundations underneath.
Every moment across the album’s nine tracks is impossibly lush, as dreamy melodies float above arrangements awash with a sense of longing and nostalgia. Make no mistake: there are indeed moments of sudden exuberance, such as heart-wrenching solos (“Tangled”) and massive choruses (“Lioness’ Sunrise”, “Let Me”), to be found amidst said arrangements. But at the end of the day, the album remains tender and heartfelt — and most importantly, it feels deeply, deeply honest in its emotion. And that’s what makes it one of the best releases of the year.