Oceana - The Tide (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


The Tide (2008)

Rise Records

I hate when people say, "Oh, I like everything, except for country (and/or rap)" when discussing music, for a few reasons. First, such a statement implies that you have almost no taste in and no opinion on music whatsoever, except for country. This means you rank The Beatles on the same level as your average white supremacy band like Prussia Blue. This means you like Limp Bizkit's last album as much as The Clash's first one. And I know you don't mean that. Secondly, I hate it because I know you're lying. There is no way you like For the Fatherland as much as Rubber Soul. No freaking way. And finally, I hate this sort of statement because it implies it is possible to hate an entire genre. Thinking in those terms is demeaning to art. Musicians should not be guided by genre labels, because that is too restrictive, and neither should listeners. Listen to bands, not genres.

Now, folks, when I say I hate Oceana's The Tide because it's a stupid piece of screamo bullshit, I don't mean to imply that I hate screamo as a whole. Just because I shuddered when I read online comparisons between Oceana and Burden of a Day, another bad screamo band I had to write about for this Web site, doesn't mean I'm biased against the entire genre. Taking Back Sunday's first record has held up for me. And I think Thursday has actually gotten better with each album, although some would argue that A) I'm wrong, and B) Thursday isn't really a screamo band anymore and that they're happy to lose the designation. But I just want you, the lip ring-wearing, faux-hawk styling, black-clad masses, to know that I'm not trying to shit on your face.

I just really, really, really don't like Oceana's The Tide. It sucks.

After a brief, bland intro track, The Tide kicks into rock mode with "The Accountable." The first line listeners hear is "The truth is found six feet underground or laying at the bottom of the sea." Oddly enough, I'm wearing a black Plea for Peace t-shirt right now, so I'm probably not the right demographic for this song about suicide. I can't quite figure out if frontman Keith Jones is arguing for or against it, and this really isn't the sort of thing I like left ambiguous. Amid angular guitar parts and that nasally singing/gruff screaming combo that is screaming emotional hardcore's trademark, Jones advises that "Misguided truths are right here within these walls / And to speak of them is a sin against the ones you swear to the most." OK, so don't discuss your family problems? Are you pro- or anti-discussing rape/incest? "To purge one's self in such a misleading way is just a shame." If that's a suicide reference, then I think Jones is coming out against it. But then the alternative Jones comes up with is to "only wither away." It's a bit muddled, and the music's piss poor use of breakdowns and machine gun bass drum hits isn't really interesting enough to keep me invested.

After "The Accountable," The Tide provides 10 more competent, yet annoying, screaming emotional hardcore jams. The variation is slight, the frustration great. Jones suffers from the same problem as a lot of this genre's vocalists; he's trying too hard to be heavy. While his screams are devoid of the whine of Taking Back Sunday or The Used, they're so monolithically geared towards sounding deep and guttural that the record sounds like a 42-minute bowel movement. Somebody get this guy a laxative.