Song: Ask For The Anthem
Band: Ocean Grove
Area: Melbourne, Victoria
Date of Release: 06/02/19
Genre: Odd World, Nu Metal
For Fans Of: My Ticket Home, Limp Bizkit, Marilyn Manson, Islander, Deftones
‘So just play it back, if I hear just that, then we'll both be better off, you know?
Just say something back. If I hear my track, then we'll both be better off, now.
We'll both be better off, no?’
On Sunday, I was overjoyed as my social media feeds were graced with hints of not only a brand-new Ocean Grove track, but also the nearing announcement of the odd world collective’s new line-up! A teaser video in the form of a nostalgic early 2000s throwback could be seen upon all of Ocean Grove’s official social media platforms, mimicking the iconic Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 character selection screen alongside a post caption that read “You ready to play? ASK FOR IT.” This 24 second video had much to offer as fuel for speculation in regard to the changes of Ocean Grove’s line-up and what that could mean for the band’s overall sound. First and foremost, the video could be seen cycling through each current band member, one member in particular being blacked out like a locked character, no doubt their brand-new member! What was interesting about this was the fact that this anonymous new member could be seen holding a bass guitar, an instrumental role that was previously held by still existing member Dale Tanner. It was clear that Tanner had taken up the role as the band’s full-time front man, and Ocean Grove had now become a four-piece act. So, who was this new member? Well, I tuned into Triple J’s ‘Good Nights’ segment on Monday to find out and it’s Twiggy of The Beverly Chills! Following this announcement was the exclusive premier of their new tune ‘Ask For The Anthem’ and let’s just say it’s an interesting one. But the question is, how does it fair with an all new line-up, and Tanner up front? Well, let’s give it a geez and find out!
Right off the bat, you can absolutely tell that this is Ocean Grove; filled with that exact charm and goofiness you’d come to expect from a track of theirs, and it’s a sound that brings nothing but joy to me. Instrumentally, it begins as groovy and infectious as ever, with simple yet appropriately spaced out guitar riffs slapping you in the face alongside and solid drum rhythm and some additional quirky electronic rhythmic elements. What I like about its verses instrumentally is that each role seems to be doing something completely different, yet there are plenty of rhythmic pauses that occur in unison, effectively spacing things out before bringing back the clobbering grooves all at once. As well as that, newly recruited Ocean Grove member Twiggy has some sweet shining moments in the latter portion of the song’s first verse, and it’s pretty damn cool. As the chorus’ roll around, the guitars perform some very simple chord progressions that sound really nice alongside a majestic wall of soft, melodic synth layers. It serves the song just fine and transitions very well with the otherwise groovy sections! Following the songs’ second chorus, there’s a bit of a suspenseful buildup, although I don’t really feel like it necessarily goes anywhere and shortly after, a reentry of the song’s post chorus leads it into its conclusion.
Vocally, this is where I feel ‘Ask For The Anthem’ loses its ground considerably. Where the vocoder effect was only an element of their music in previous tracks such as ‘Glass Gloss’ and ‘Intimate Alien’; here, it’s seems to be a central and defining aspect of the music, obviously with intent to vary Tanner’s vocals as front man. Now, I didn’t mind its use in the aforementioned tracks because I felt that it is was effectively balanced out beforehand, and with the contrast of previous front man, rapper and harsh vocalist Luke Holmes, there was already more than enough vocal variety to allow for Tanner to become a bit pitch shifter happy every now and then. Here, I feel that it’s extensive use isn’t doing the band’s dynamic much justice. With that being said however, I must admit that his raspy cleans are still as godly as ever, and the chorus here is just huge! In addition, there are some post-chorus high cleans that are also quite nice and the overall melodies are insanely catchy. I just feel that as the track continues, vocally, it’s in dire need of something a bit more interesting.
Overall, I didn’t mind ‘Ask For The Anthem’, there were things about it that I loved, and other things that I felt were in desperate need of some further development. Sonically, it’s as Ocean Grove as it gets, and that’s great! I love it! But, without any interesting methods of vocal variety on display, something that was previously made possible with the addition of Holmes, I feel that this song often falls flat vocally; relying heavily on the vocoder effect to add variation where, in my opinion, it only seems to subtract from its overall potential. I still however enjoyed this track, and if you love Ocean Grove like I do, you’ll probably get enough satisfaction out of it as well! Go give it a listen! The new era of Ocean Grove has begun and I can’t wait to see them supporting Hands Like Houses this Saturday at Enmore Theatre!
Would You Go And See Them (WYGAST) 4/5
Personal Enjoyment: 8.5/10