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… and Your City Needs Swallowing

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Album Review

Seafaring dreams obviously both haunt and inspire I Am the Ocean, since the band is in fact hopelessly landlocked in its home base of Salt Lake City, UT. Maybe that's why, for all of this debut effort's cyclopean oceanic imagery and conceptual storyline, neither its music nor the accompanying words are in any way evocative of the deep blue sea. Instead, its first person, stream-of-consciousness narrative is only just cryptic enough to avoid being reduced to emo-style complaining, and comes draped with amusingly nonsensical titles such as "Chasing Bears and Reading Scriptures" and "Randy Wrinkled Travis," or worse, just plain stupid ones such as "Nobody Calls Me Chicken" and "Puked on and Slapped Up" — what gives? Either the bandmembers are hopelessly confused within the labyrinthine layers of their own post-ironic irony, or they are indulging in a few too many in-jokes for most outsiders to relate with — never a smart move if you're asking people to buy your records. In any event, the good news is that all of this obscure textual material is at least delivered through a rather compelling blend of diverse, borderline dissonant guitar riffs and snarled vocals, which are curiously reminiscent of mid-'90s metallic alt-rock mavericks like Paw and For Love Not Lisa (see "Bet'cha Your Job" and "Text the Sex Rhyme," for example). Whether the band is even aware of these quite possibly subliminal influences is impossible to tell, but the formula yields a few obvious standouts in "I'm Pretty Tired and I'm Pretty Old," "Wait, What?," and the hardcore blast of "Scribble Jack." Also noteworthy for showing the band's range is instrumental "A Going Under," which consists of surprisingly gentle, cascading guitar lines orchestrated to marvelous effect. Ultimately, one feels that I Am the Ocean could achieve great things with a little more seasoning, if they address their verbal and thematic diarrhea somewhat, and — oh yeah — go spend a little time on a beach!


Formed: Salt Lake City, UT

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Based out of Salt Lake City, I Am the Ocean combine post-hardcore with somewhat metal-based prog rock tendencies that apparently take influence from bands like the Deftones, Cave In, Pink Floyd, Botch, and Mastodon. Drummer Taylor Orton, vocalist Kellen Dopp, bassist Kim, and guitarists Eric Rose, Adam "Adumb" Virostko, and Jeremy Conder signed to California's Uprising Records in March 2007 and made their label...
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… and Your City Needs Swallowing, I am the Ocean
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