There’s definitely a GCSE English analysis behind the name of River Becomes Ocean: the idea of something powerful joining into something even greater and vaster than you could possibly imagine is a beautiful metaphor. Well-crafted band name aside, the Brighton based quartet certainly take the plunge with their second EP ‘December’, but we are left to wonder as to why it was released in June.
Beginning with the slightly erratic track ‘We Will’, it feels like the lads are still finding their feet. While the driving riffs are present, they lack the power to keep up with singer Marvin McMahon’s grittier vocals. However when he sings, it is perfectly matched and the addition of strings brings an unexpected depth to this EP opener.
The focus on Dorian Neidhardt’s drums in ‘Lies’ is a welcome change and complements McMahon’s vocals phenomenally well. But the strained, harsher tones towards the latter part of the track let it down somewhat. One piece of sound advice that could be given throughout this album is that not every song needs screaming vocals and quite simply, less is more. McMahon’s voice is beautiful on its own, along with the band’s backing vocals and this is tarnished somewhat when unnecessary, growling vocals come into play.
Accompanied by a realistic and harrowing music video, ‘Seven’ marks the halfway point in this EP. With insanely powerful and gutsy riffs, this is definitely the highlight of ‘December’. Bringing haunting harmonies into play with heavy percussion is definitely their ace in their hole. McMahon’s sparing use of screaming brings just the right amount of attitude to this track. As rock songs go, it has everything you could possibly want and if they continue to create music of this magnitude, River Becomes Ocean will be huge.
Continuing in similar fashion is ‘Buried at Sea’, the vulnerability of McMahon’s voice against the drums is wonderful to hear. The water metaphor definitely seems to be working for these lads, and the result is this epic, bold track. Closing the EP after such a mighty quartet of songs was always going to be tricky. Enter River Becomes Ocean with a curveball, otherwise known as ‘For Now’, an acoustic and piano lead track drawing attention to the simplicity of vocals. The accompaniment of female vocals is inspired when coupled with the backing vocals, giving the song an airy, delicate quality.
While there may be a few kinks to iron out, River Becomes Ocean’s potential is staggering. Demonstrating their versatility is quite possibly the best way they could have rounded off this EP, and in its entirety, ‘December’ leaves an excited feeling in its wake.
‘December’ is out now.
This River Becomes Ocean article was written by Evie Myers, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse.