Album Review: 'Bright People' by Oceanics
May 15, 2012 11:57 am
Think of vocals similar to Luke Pritchard’s of the Kooks paired with Beach Boys-esque harmonies, layered over jangly guitar riffs akin to Vampire Weekend. Throw in a dash of Two Door Cinema Club and you have the band Oceanics.
Hailing from Queensland, the Aussie quartet released its second EP “Bright People” today on MGM. With bouncy introductions and tight beats, “Bright People” offers a sample of harmonious Britpop-rock just in time for summer.
The five-song EP begins with “Jukebox,” a fun track that discusses the less fun topic of unrequited love. “Lately, love has seemed to hate me/ It’s over now,” lead vocalist Elliot Weston sings. Putting unfortunate situations to lively music is a trait found in nearly all of the tracks on “Bright People,” and “Jukebox” starts out strong with a solid bass line layered underneath a repetitive yet electrifying hook.
“Chinatown (Is Not Newtown)” follows “Jukebox,” and with its boundless energy, it is easy to see why the band chose it to be the first single off the record. The song opens with a playful guitar solo that maintains its bouncy quality throughout the whole song. “I heard you say/ It’s all the same/ Now you and I are lonely,” Weston croons, with lyrics that contrast with the song’s otherwise happy qualities.
The next two tracks mellow the mood after the pair of up-tempo tracks that open the EP. “American Honey” and “Indigo Lane” sound as if they should be played at the beach while the sun sets, staying true to that summery vibe present on the whole EP. “American Honey” slows the album’s pace and puts more emphasis on the rhythmic guitar riffs, while Weston boasts an impressive range during the chorus. The song is another debate over a lover, asking, “Should I leave ya, should I leave us?/ Nothing turns to something else soon, my love.”
Similarly, “Indigo Lane” tells the story of a couple who cannot break away from their dysfunctional relationship. “Just pull us apart and put us back together,” Weston sings. The song combines two distinct tempos, making it jump from the calmest song on the EP to one of the most upbeat ones within a 30-second stretch.
Oceanics closes out its EP with a Beach Boys cover “Girl Don’t Tell Me.” Sounding especially similar to Foster the People, Oceanics offers a great tribute to Brian Wilson’s 1965 hit. Oceanics successfully captures the retro feel necessary to make a song like this sound great. While it does not surpass the original, “Girl Don’t Tell Me” is the perfect, melodious close to an EP filled with summery tunes about tricky love.
“Bright People” is well suited for a day at the beach or drive up the coast with its excellent lyrics and mellow instrumentals. What Oceanics needs now is something distinguishable ““ a song with a great hook to reel its listeners in, as individual tracks lack that “catchy” quality that makes it easy to discern one indie ballad from the rest. While “Bright People” is enjoyable, it needs an extra push before it can be deemed memorable.