Oceans - Nothing Collapses (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Nothing Collapses (2009)

Copper Lung

There are moments on Oceans' debut full-length, Nothing Collapses, where you believe the band might join the heralded ranks of newer post-rock acts like This Will Destroy You and Moving Mountains. But far too many others merely reflect the album's title -- why doesn't it feel like anything is ever building up or breaking down? -- and leave you wanting much, much more.

Nothing Collapses severely lacks both motion and emotion. When the more sparkling riff comes into play during opener "Lit Up Under Streetlights," it's not 100% effective, and you're not sure it's because the mix has the bass kinda drowning it out, or that whoever is playing that riff is simply being too delicate with it. It's a graceful song, to be sure, but too much so, and a floor-stomping pound would make the movements all the more enthralling. At 6:22, it might be predictable to thrown in a "BOOM" and have guitars fighting it out with a flourish of beautiful cacophony, but it would also be great to hear Oceans' take on that. Instead, they delay it for a minute, dipping into more underwhelming, gentle territory and then following it with a somewhat middling climax.

The first vocals come in about 1:30 or so into the fourth track, "Boy Detective." This would add some much-needed heart to what's going on, but the singing is a little flat and it ends kind of abruptly. A few of them sing together towards the end, in a way that's unnaturally happy and upbeat for the style. It actually kinda works, admittedly, but it's a rare successful attempt at trying something a little left-field -- another one of those attempts is when their violin is most prominent, in closer "Your Plane Leaves Tomorrow," adding a light prettiness to the proceedings.

Much of Nothing Collapses meanders without too much bite or brawn, though. It's the ultimate background music, without enough personality or dynamism to ever really take hold. You might not even flinch for three or four songs straight, until 3:25 into Track 8, "Traps and Traps," where the biggest burst of the album happens.

Oceans had self-released two different demos prior to recording Nothing Collapses, so you can't say they haven't been developing their sound for some time. But hopefully they keep at it, since there's just enough moments here and there to suggest all is not lost.

Lit Up Under Streetlights
We Are Ruins
Boy Detective
Traps and Traps