After announcing their departure from Epitaph Records, Our Last Night proved that bands don’t need to be signed to a label for success. Their latest EP Oak Island was released independently through funders of an Indiegogo campaign. After several months of waiting for a release, fans were surprised to find that at the end of the band’s last Summer of Covers video, “Wrecking Ball”, was a 30-second album teaser for their single“Same Old War”. As a huge OLN fan, nothing excited me more than hearing that something new was upon us.
“Same Old War” appears to deal with an unnamed illness and the internal struggle of whether or not to fight it. This single gave me high hopes for the rest of the album as the band’s progression was evident in both the lyrics and music. Despite the band’s change in vocal stylings, their beloved instrumentals haven’t changed too drastically. Drummer Tim Molloy’s talent is shown off in this song as the drums are the most intense on the album.
Oak Island has more clean vocals than anything OLN has ever produced. Their new sound has strayed from the genre of metalcore and has become more alternative like Hands Like Houses. Vocalist brothers Trevor and Matt Wentworth have both grown significantly. Trevor, specifically, has traded in his title of unclean vocalist for clean vocalist who occasionally screams. Fans got to hear this transformation in OLN’s previous album Age of Ignorance, but at that point Trevor had just been testing the waters with his clean vocal skills and it still sounded a little rough. Luckily, their four official Summer of Cover songs have allowed him to work on his vocals, and at times his and Matt’s vocals are difficult to differentiate.
The EP starts off with the song “Dark Storms”. The first lines that listeners get are “Whatever you do in life will be insignificant/ But it’s very important that you do it, cause/ Nobody else will.” When I first heard this I wasn’t sure whether or not to feel inspired. The song’s lyrics later go into a classic OLN, anti-authoritarian critique. This could either deal with a political figure, as would be expected, or a powerful individual from Epitaph. This track does not hold off on anger, with the band’s quintessential chugging of chords and Trevor’s reclaimed title of unclean vocalist.
The sixth track “Scared of Change” is my personal favorite. As the title suggests, it discusses some great change that one of the members has experienced and how they’ve handled it. The interchanging of vocals between the Wentworth brothers in this song gives it a unique tone as the two voices are clearly different, granting listeners two separate perspectives on how to handle change. On a more hopeful note, the song “Sunrise” deals with getting out of dark times and moving forward.
The album comes to a close with its titular track “Oak Island”. This song deals with a much darker subject and the heaviness is evident in the instrumentals as well. OLN’s conspiracy theories haven’t quite let up as this song deals with fighting against authority figures who belittle their people. My thoughts immediately go to the powerful people in Epitaph Records.
It has been rumored for a while that Our Last Night and Epitaph had a rocky relationship. I would not be too surprised if OLN’s feelings about how authority figures are restricting were getting on Epitaph’s nerves. As a band without a label, they resorted to Indiegogo to get a kickstart on their EP. Their departure was not in vain, as their Indiegogo campaign made well over the $15,000 that was necessary to bring Oak Island into fruition. They cleverly provided great rewards for large donations, ranging anywhere from an early digital download to their $1,500 “Coolest Party Ever”, which granted three funders a private concert.
Oak Island by Our Last Night is a complete success. It is also apparent that their departure from Epitaph has allowed them to move forward and reach their potential. This makes me wonder how many bands may drop their label in hopes of becoming the next Our Last Night by succeeding independently. The use of Indiegogo has been the latest trend with bands aiming to gain popularity and funding without having to answer to a label. Could this be the end of labels as we know it?