Last year We Are The Ocean released Go Now and Live which became one of my favourites of 2011 and made it into my top ten of the year’s releases. Since then they’ve parted ways with Dan Brown, the growlier half of the vocal team, resulting in a slight shift in sound that both retains the aural traits I’ve enjoyed so much while moving into slightly softer territory for a band that’s always had the dual vocal.
When I heard about Dan’s departure I initially didn’t think it would make that much of a difference. To an extent I’m both right and wrong in that respect. Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow is a very good album, proving that there’s definitely life after the departure of a key member but it is obvious that something’s changed. Remaining vocalist and rhythm guitarist Liam Cromby has an astounding voice on his own (I’d liken him to a British version of Dallas Green of City and Colour) and the majority of the songs sound like they’ve been written or reshaped for the solo vocal.
As per the previous record most of the guitar sounds semi-acoustic and overall there’s a gentler bent to most of the album although it would be wrong to say that it’s lacking in any pace and enthusiasm. I think the entire record would transfer across to solo acoustic versions which I suspect may be the core of the songs with the rest of the instrumentation built up around it. However it should be noted that it’s certainly more than capable of rocking your socks such as on proper opener “Bleed”.
There are a few parts of Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow that lack that bite that Dan’s vocal offered though. Liam does his best on the few rougher vocal parts that feature but he sounds a little strained at times and I really hope that he doesn’t injure his voice as a result. Other parts are filled by other band members, notably in “Machines” which sounds like a remnant from the previous album; it’s a good song, but it suffers for lack of correct vocal. Play it back to back with last album’s “The Waiting Room” and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Track 9, “Pass Me By” features lead guitarist Alfie Scully on lead vocal duties too.
I was an instant fan of the band when I heard Go Now and Live and this album has only served to increase the desire to hear more of them. They are a great band with easily accessible songs that continue to reward the more you hear them. I never seen them live as yet and I suspect I’ve sadly missed the boat as Dan’s missing voice is obvious. If it’s evident on recordings I can only imagine it’ll make the live experience a little less than expected.
However, that’s all just supposition and so for now I’ll sit back and enjoy the recorded releases. If you’ve never heard We Are The Ocean before I suspect you could fall in love with the band through this album and reap great rewards by progressing back through the discography. It’s definitely earned a well-deserved place in my regular playlist. If you’re familiar with the band I suspect you’ll feel as I do; despite being a man down, Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow is a really good album and almost on a par with Go Now and Live.