After the release of their debut, rumour had it that *Oceansize *would return with a bold collection of tight, hook-laden numbers in a bid to fully capitalise on their standing as one of British rock’s most talented and respected bands. Always bracketed under the blanket of prog- or space-rock due to the hyper-extended nature of their live sets – at one time they barely managed to shoehorn in a meagre four songs in their allotted thirty-five minutes – I always felt that their true nature lay more toward the metal. This became more apparent over time, especially upon the release of the ferocious aural drubbing from the _Music For Nurses _EP. However, _Everyone Into Position _leaves no doubt about the prog label. Initially, compared to the consistently strung-out flakiness apparently found here, _Effloresce _was a master class in pop rock.
Just a single track on this record runs at under five minutes and as such, this is not one for those of short attention span. *Oceansize *built their reputation on compiling colossal mobile sonic edifices capable of obliterating all in their way either in an instant or over the course of their opus. You got the album and now it’s time to move on. The opening track, _‘The Charm Offensive’ _musters a gradual craft and guile as the song builds and builds, only appearing as they once did in the final minute of the song. Up until that moment the song passes through almost anonymously, working its way through surreptitiously as a cunning beast awaiting its prey. Make no bones about it: this song is more than just clinical in its execution.
This becomes a common theme throughout the record as each song merely seems to ebb and flow gently for an age, culminating in an explosive, exhausting finale. More appropriate comparisons might be with Yes *than *Tool, since despite the prog and the metal being mixed here, there is not nearly enough darkness infused through this record. Michael Vennart’s vocals seem to undergo a constant revolution throughout the record, lithely interchanging between styles but always complementing the approach of the song just so. During the sweltering, faltering ‘Music For A Nurse’, Vennart murmurs sweet sorrow through his microphone, following the course of the music perfectly.
While *Oceansize *do seem to be totally comfortable as a band, balancing their sound by using each other’s strengths, this doesn’t seem to be so much of a “difficult second album” as much as exactly what they wanted to do, at their own pace and in their own style. Any sort of strange immediacy that anyone may have eventually found in the first release is quite absent here. It’s unclear to me whether _Everyone Into Position _actually prefers to remain in one gear, gradually picking up speed here and there, or is merely not capable of sporadic fluctuations into the Metal and the Atmosphere. This is not quite the rollercoaster ride one may have expected.
7Raziq Rauf's Score