LIVE REVIEW: We Are The Ocean – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms 10/02/13

Following the release of We Are The Ocean’s third record ‘Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow’, the pressure was on guitarist Liam Cromby to step up as frontman after the departure of vocalist Dan Brown in 2012. A solo acoustic rendition of “Stanford Rivers” from the recent album showed that he was more than prepared to take centre stage. The rest of the band then joined him to see the whole place immediately come alive and sweaty to the angst ridden riffs of “Bleed” also from the new album. We Are The Ocean seem to be proving themselves to even the most die hard fangirls of previous poster boy Dan Brown.

Cromby proceeds to show off his frontman capabilities with interaction between songs, rather enjoying the crowd coining his very Essex ‘alright’ as phrase of the night. Even during older songs where Brown would have been the main focus, the band managed to keep it strong and we heard more of guitarist Alfie Scullie’s voice to accompany Cromby.

The set ends as it started with just Cromby on stage with his acoustic guitar, this time singing “Young Heart”. He is by no means alone however as the entire crowd scream his lyrics right back at him. Furthermore the rest of We Are The Ocean, along with support acts Yashin and Straight Lines bombard him with a hat and some shades to complete the frontman look, almost as if he hadn’t already proved himself worthy of the slot.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Foals – Holy Fire

‘Holy Fire’? More like Holy Fuck, Foals have done it again. The indie-rock band deliver their third album with a generous variation of chill-out songs such as “Moon” and “My Number”, an infectious dance tune that will prove nearly impossible to shake off. “Late Night” comes across as a sensually sinister single with a sense of rage shining through the piercing vocals that lead the slowly ascending rhythm.

The past few years have seen Foals gain a vast amount of recognition and certainly more radio airplay. To top it off the band have taken up a main stage slot at this year’s Reading Festival, unsurprising really when you take in the intense sound that can only be perfected by turning up the volume on a warm Summer’s day. This album, albeit worthy of it’s number one position on iTunes, is not necessarily a breakthrough. ‘Holy Fire’ shows a similar summery mood to previous album ‘Total Life Forever’ although the new tracks showcase a slightly darker tone with less of the soft sound of the synths and more focus on bass and percussion.

Nevertheless there is little room for criticism as ‘Holy Fire’ showcases a fine working of Yannis Philippakis’ unique vocals and the equally innovative melodies. The eerie instrumental launch of “Prelude” almost tricks us into thinking we are listening to The Cure. However we are soon greeted with the wails of Philippakis rather than those of Robert Smith and there is no mistaking this smooth introduction to one of Foals’ darkest albums yet.