DEFY THE OCEAN
Far from prolific in their output, post-rock duo Defy the Ocean have released just a few singles and one EP since their inception in 2009. Now we have their first new material in three years, in the form of a second EP, 'Elderflower'. It seems this two-piece are more about quality over quantity, as the seven tracks on this disc are nicely crafted cuts of post-rock elegance. Steeped in melancholic affections and rich with atmosphere throughout, Defy the Ocean's music seamlessly weaves an ever-interesting tapestry of both mellow and heavy elements. The various guitar/bass parts and sounds are well thought out and posited perfectly within songs' arrangements, keyboards colour their canvas in a refined manner, and a largely restrained and minimalist drum performance from Marcos Economides allows the music enough breathing space, peripheral to any, otherwise, distracting sticksman intricacies.
Defy the Ocean score points vocally too, although with minor reservations. Chris Theo's voice is apt for the melancholy at the core of the music, even if it is a little too maudlin at times. Also, I get the impression he's occasionally holding back on his singing, when songs might benefit from a more gutsy delivery, particularly when the instrumentations build towards metalised, intense crescendos. However, I'm guessing this might be to do with ability and confidence, as Theo's vocals do occasionally veer ever so slightly off-key, and pushing his voice even more might have resulted in even more dissonance. That said, such vocal discordance actually works and sounds fine within the context of songs' offbeat melodies; it's never drastically out of place.
In summary, I think 'Elderflower' is a fine and instrumentally mature effort from this evidently talented duo. While it doesn't always offer an enrapturing, immersive experience in each and every composition and the vocals are not always consistent in quality, it does, at its strongest moments, deliver enough enjoyable sonic fodder for fans of this sort of thing to devour with tasty rewards.
Review by Mark Holmes
2nd Sept 2016
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...the seven tracks on this disc are nicely crafted cuts of post-rock elegance."