Oceansize

Everyone into Position

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With their moody alt-rock sound, it might be tempting to lump this quintet in with British bands like Coldplay and Travis, who rushed to fill the void when Radiohead turned its back on commercial accessibility. But one listen to the Manchester-based band's sophomore LP makes it clear that they're charting a rockier course, with prog influences that run the gamut from Pink Floyd to Tool. The throbbing tribal pulse of "The Charm Offensive" recalls Jane's Addiction if they'd been fronted by Layne Staley, with stilted rhythms, shoegazing guitars, and harmonized vocals used to craft an arty epic that straddles the line dividing art rock and metal. They have an obvious understanding of the power of dynamics: "A Homage to a Shame" cranks up the distortion for a stutter-stepping, neck-snapping groove clearly designed to incite mosh pit ferocity, and then "Meredith" abandons that intensity in favor of melody, featuring a sultry beat topped with trippy layers of shimmering guitars and echoing vocals. But what's missing from Oceansize's sound is the sort of memorable lyrical or melodic hooks listeners can latch onto. The result is a pleasant enough ride for those in search of an occasionally transcendent aural experience, but like Jim Carrey's and Kate Winslet's characters in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, it's a colorful voyage you probably won't wind up remembering much about in the end.

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