It was quite a shock for most of the fans when We Are The Ocean announced that their second vocalist and occasional shouter Dan Brown had left the band earlier this year. On the other hand this step doesn’t seem too surprising considering that their second album Go Now and Live marked the band’s transition from post-hardcore to alternative rock by cutting the shouts and being a lot more melodic on the whole. It was also WATO’s stepping stone into mainstream radio airplay.
The record start out with Stanford Rivers, a short acoustic opener. Everyone who’s heard their acoustic performance at Bush Hall will know that WATO are rather adept acoustic performers and I’m happy to see they included some of that on the new album.
The album really kicks off with Bleed which was also the first single to be released. It’s a straightforward rock song about greed and the lack of compassion. It might well be about the music industry.
The album on the whole seems to be a very personal record. The midtempo ballad Young Heart is a thank you anthem to Liam Combry’s parents and Story Of A Modern Child reflects on the pains of growing up and how hard it is to be who you want to be. It’s straight forward rock tune which does Liam’s voice a lot of justice. After being in the shadow of Dan Brown for two albums (and their live shows for that matter) the lead singer is now able to show what he is capable of. His vocal range is impressive and he probably has one of the best voices in the current british rock music scene.
Unfortunately the supporting and backing vocals by the other band members fall behind and often feel forced and overproduced as is the case on Machine because they lack the vocal range of Liam and the vigor of Dan. While Machine kicks of superb, the second half of the song loses itself in repetitions of the chorus sung by all band members. It feels like the producers were trying to make the song sound like an anthem by enhancing the voices as if a large crowd was singing along. I’m not a fan of this kind of sound and I feel like it ruins an otherwise decent song.
The outro leads straight into The Road (Run For Miles) which was the second single to be released from the album. Just like Bleed it’s a good choice for a single. It’s probably the best song on the album.
Golden Gate and the title track Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow are two more midtempo tunes. Unfortunately the title track lacks the strength and catchiness of the singles and feels more like a filler.
On Pass Me By guitarist Alfie Scully takes over the lead vocals – which I find a lot more enjoyable when they aren’t competing with Liam’s – while in the last third of the song all band members get to sing along giving the song a shanty vibe. Again, I’m sensing overproduction here. The horns in the end remind me of Nine In The Afternoon from the second Panic At The Disco album.
The acoustic Chin Up, Son brings the album full circle with the opener.
Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow picks up where its predecessor left off. It is a radio friendly rock album but it has a couple of flaws. It often feels overproduced and forcedly bombastic making some of the songs lack the edge of Go Now And Live. It’s not so much Dan’s vocals that are missing, the problem is the way they try to compensate for it which seems really unnecessary. It’s still a quite enjoyable album that marks another transition for We Are The Ocean and I’m excited about where this band is going in the future.
Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow drops on September 17th.
Also published on Medium.