Sound — 10
Oceansize's sound is difficult to describe, but I love it. Each song on this album sounds completely different from the others. The album kicks off with the epic "The Charm Offensive", in a strange time signature, and wah-ry guitars. It soon builds up to a breathtaking ending, where the distorted guitars kick in as Vennart sings "they say we're all the same... " These guys are very different to the bands you hear in the charts these days. Something fresh and exciting. The song concludes after a powerful riff enters, with Vennart screaming "everyone into position." Next, the band demonstrates how they are capable of writing pop songs, if they want to. "Heaven Alive" features an anthemic chorus, with a "groovy" bassline. The band continues to show their versatility and their aggressive side, with "A Homage To a Shame," one of the greatest prog metal songs in a long time, featuring a stack of weird time signatures and distorted guitars. It also has a very unpredictable song structure. "Meredith" is the complete opposite of "Homage," a sweet melodic simple song showing their mellow side, with melodies that just stick into your head. "Music For a Nurse" is arguably one of the most beautiful songs ever written, and it shows that 'size can write excellent music without the need for distorting any guitars. It begins with a simple guitar chord sequence, which steadily builds up to another great climax. "Ornament / The Last Wrongs" is probably one of the best album closers ever. It begins quietly with a simple guitar riff, and then expands with a chorus of perfect vocal harmonies towards the end, providing an epic and ethereal sound to end the album.
Lyrics — 10
Mike Vennart's lyrics never fail to disappoint. The lyrics on this album may not be as cryptic as those from the "Music For Nurses" EP, but it is without a doubt that he has spent a lot of time writing these lyrics which hold many different meanings for the listener to explore. The words are not straight forward at all, and this engages the listener more, by trying to figure out the meaning behind the words. The chorus to "Homage" fits perfectly with the music, "looks invent a feeling in a meaningless exchange, it's a testament to perseverance a homage to a shame". However, a lot of the time it is difficult to hear what he is singing, but that doesn't matter, as the vocals are sometimes used as another instrument for the song.
Overall Impression — 10
One of my favourite albums of all time along with Effloresce. The highlights of this album are "The Charm Offensive", "Heaven Alive", "A Homage To a Shame", "Music For a Nurse", "No Tomorrow", "You can't keep a Bad Man Down" and "Ornament / The Last Wrongs." It clearly shows the band's versatility, showing how they can write songs from metal to post-rockish melodies. However, it took me a long time to get to know this album, so for those with little patience, may not like this album at first. The secrets to the album unlock themselves only after a few run-throughs.