We Are The Ocean are respected veterans on the UK music scene. Tonight the band headline the Electric Ballroom in Camden Town and bring their powerful hard-hitting rock sound with them.
Perhaps it is not the wisest of times to do a headline show in London as the band is playing at the Slam Dunk Festival two days later; consequently, there is not a capacity crowd, just enough of an audience to create an atmosphere. The first thing you notice with this band is Liam Cromby’s impressive vocal range; it really is something special. The second is how many great familiar songs they have produced. If you’re new to WATO, you may not realise that they used to be a much heavier outfit with another frontman who screamed. As the line-up has changed, they have had to adapt melodies of older songs which still defined the direction of the band. “The Waiting Room” is an example of an older song that is still in the new WATO set and you can see why with its soaring melodies and a sing-along chorus that gets everyone jumping and singing the lyrics back to the band. The band strip the music back and Liam asks the crowd to sing the line: “Let go then I lose control.” He counts to three, the band go silent, and the room is filled with every voice screaming the line back to him. Subsequently, the whole band provide an explosive musical finish.
Another song that is truly beautiful and a standout from their older days is “Confessions”. This is a steady dream that builds higher and higher; it is so anthemic that you can’t help but be inspired by it. This song showcases the haunting qualities this band possess, both melodically and vocally.
The band has come a long way since their album “Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow”, both as lyricists and performers. Songs like “The Road”, “Machine” and “Young Heart” helped earn the band A list Radio 1 play, along with a whole division of new fans. The Ballroom reaction to all these songs alone show that We Are The Ocean have successfully enhanced their sound for the new generation; they should be playing rooms twice this size. It’s now just a case of breaking through the next ceiling.
The new album “ARK” has now arrived and the title track had already been added to Zane Lowe’s Top 100 hottest records of 2014. This song in the live environment truly is something epic to enjoy with its riffs and dreamy melodies that burst with power. The crowd are not sure whether to start a pit or just watch and listen to this new sound wash over the room.
“Holy Fire” is the band’s latest single off “ARK” and, while it’s a good song, it doesn’t seem to match the standard of previous releases. It feels like more like a solid album track than a standout single. Live, it’s a little too new to entice any notable reaction, but there’s always time for it to grow with the fans.
Overall, tonight feels like a resounding success. WATO still present an impressive, powerful live show as well as offer brilliant new material. They have been on the cusp of bigger and better things for a while now, and “ARK” may be the album to lift them to the next level, where they belong.
New album “ARK” is OUT NOW