Across the pond, We Are The Ocean, a four-piece rock band originating from Essex, England is bringing good old-fashioned British rock and roll back in the sea of music.
In 2010, the band released its debut album, Cutting Our Teeth. A year later, their sophomore album, Go Now And Live found its way to the surface, hooking listeners in one track at a time. Leading up to the release of the newest album, Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow, fans have been floating between the “sink or swim” mentality since the unexpected departure of former lead vocalist, Dan Brown. Replacing the lead singer tends to shift a band’s sound entirely, and We Are The Ocean’s fate seemed lost at sea.
Fortunately, fans will be washed over with a wave of relief because Liam Cromby, Alfie Scully, Jack Spence and Tom Whittaker collectively produced a solid rock record that rises above the rest.
It is transparently evident that We Are The Ocean persists to stick to a more traditional rock and roll sound with the use of standard guitars, bass and drums. “Bleed” is a testament to this effort, led by gritty guitar chords that are amplified with ferocious drumming. “Bleed for the money that they need / it’s all for the greed,” Cromby spits into your ears.
“Story of a Modern Child” has a Nirvana vibe to it at first, especially when Cromby slowly enunciates “be who you want to be” behind haunting chants. Also playing off this vibe is “Machine”, a drum-dominated track that sustains roaring vocals. “Let me breath, let me see, let me be who I want to be,” Cromby demands in a harsher tone.
Throughout the entire album, We Are The Ocean presents notions about the struggles of growing up and adapting to the real world. This theme is most prominent in “Young Heart”, a tribute to the parental figures who raised and guided them. Cromby incessantly plays around the question, “Am I ever going to make something of myself?” and “Have I done right by you? Have I done right by me?”
Despite these dark realities, We Are The Ocean ends every song on a positive note with uplifting messages. Sometimes it’s the little things that sink in like, “the sun’s gonna always rise”, a line from the lighthearted song “Pass Me By”. Other times, the more insightful concepts have a more powerful impact. In the final song, “Chin Up Son”, Cromby sings, “So tell me, why do I worry myself? Well, I’ll be all right/ I’m doing just fine/ There’s no need to dwell/ So tell me, why do I worry myself? I’m out of the storm/ My heart is warm/ I’ve made it through hell.”
The only criticism that blatantly stands out occurs in “Chin Up Son.” The acoustic track exposes Cromby’s vocals in a raw state and in some parts, he doesn’t quite hit the right pitches. Yet while Cromby has his rare moments out of tune, the song manages to sound perfectly imperfect.
All 10 songs on Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow have such a good flow throughout the entire album, making the transitions effortless. There is never an awkward pause although every track has a different stroke. Listening to Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow is like wading in your own head because the issues the band writes about are relatable since we have all have gone through or will go through it. Essentially, We Are The Ocean tells the stories of our lives in musical form, encouraging us to just keep swimming.