More often than not, a band delivering a second LP in the space of 12 months doesn’t turn out well. Yet on this self-titled effort, BAAO have bettered last year’s ‘How We Both Wondrously Perished’. On the whole it is a far more consistent record.
For starters the soaring melodies from guitarist Michael McGough are simply stunning and very impressive. Whilst Joel Quartuccio’s biting, impassioned vocals gives the record a raw edge. From opening track, ‘Little Richie’, the familiar yet compelling structure of aggressive verses leading into a melodic chorus is in place. But don’t let this out you off.
Stylistically BAAO’s sound has grown becoming more layered and sonically impressive. The clean guitar parts are harmonious creating a contrast to the heavier parts that roar throughout. It’s overall structure is nearly faultless. It delivers punches and hooks from start to finish. One moment you’re wanting to pump young fist sky high , the next you’re joining along with McGough’s delicious harmonies.
With the standard high and consistent, it may prove to be pick a highlight but without a doubt ‘St Peter’ is where the record peaks. From the atmospheric spoken word intro of being in a German countryside and being welcomed with open arms before bursting with a radiant chorus that simply warms you. The bands familiar storytelling characteristic is firmly in place on ‘St Peter’ (and throughout the record.) It adds an intriguing side to their style yet one that is welcomed.
The lyrical tone sways from frustration to hope and clarity to paranoia. It compliments the changing pace and tone of the record perfectly. At times it’s strikingly bleak yet elsewhere it’s beautifully potent.
The noticeable flaw on ‘Being As An Ocean’ is the band’s lack of experimentation. Whilst the scream-sing approach is pulled off brilliantly, it becomes somewhat tiresome later on. It’s a shame because it’s clear the duel-vocal dynamic between Quartuccio and McGough has potential to be more intriguing than it actually is.
Nevertheless Being As An Ocean have produced a remarkable and thorough record that is a career best (so far). It is a record that thrives on the emotional connection and focused musicial structure that when combined produces a more than satisfying result.
If you’re like me and wrote off Being As An Ocean as just another run-of-the-mill melodic hardcore band, then do yourself a favour and listen to this incredible record.
‘Being As An Ocean’ by Being As An Ocean is released on 6th July on Impericon Records.
Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)