Oceansize - Effloresce

by James Gerard Rating:9 Release Date:2017-11-10
Oceansize - Effloresce
Oceansize - Effloresce

While the story of Oceansize would ultimately unravel in a rather unspectacular fashion, imploding under the weight ‘artistic differences’ undoubtedly fueled by a potent combination of increasing expectations and diminished returns, there was a time when the Manchester band was one of the music’s best kept secrets.  Key to this optimism was the band’s debut, the genre-defining Effloresce, a bold amalgamation of sounds and textures that placed the band at the forefront of the next wave of ‘prog’

One part post-rock, one part alt-rock and a whole lot of guitar, Effloresce presented an already impressively fully-formed band to the masses.  Singer Mike Vennart (whose post-band work has included a touring stint with Biffy Clyro) wields his chameleon-esque vocals to great effect while the rest of the band (drummer Mark Heron, bassist Jon Ellis, and guitarists Steve Durose and Gambler) effortlessly shifts between bludgeoning riffs and ethereal soundscapes over the course of the album’s twelve tracks.

While future efforts would find Oceansize ‘dialing’ in their expansive sound, Effloresce is buoyed by a kind of carefree energy that only a debut album can elicit; the record is delightfully all over the place.  From the stadium-swaying chorus of the album opener “I Am the Morning” to the epic ten-minute prog-workout that is “Massive Bereavement”, the album’s first four tracks impressively displayed the band’s dynamic ability to seamlessly shift sonic gears, essentially setting into place the template for all that would follow.

Be it amped-up alterna-anthems (“You Wish”, “Amputee”), moody soundscapes (“Rinsed”, “Unravel”) or the trilogy of quasi-epics (“Women Who Love Men Who Love Drugs”, “Saturday Morning Breakfast Show”, “Long Forgotten”) that close out the record, Effloresce not only captured the young band at the top of their game, it also helped redefine the concept of ‘progressive’ rock, retooling the genre’s stodgy, tired parameters for a whole new generation of musicians and fans alike.

Regardless of whether you were a fan from the beginning or one of the many who have discovered Oceansize in the wake of their untimely demise, this re-release of Effloresce represents a great opportunity to revisit one of the new millennium's best prog releases.

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