Marvin Gaye’s voice was pure sex. “Let’s Get It On”, “How Sweet it is to be Loved by You” and “Sexual Healing” are the kind of songs you play when it’s business time. Coming out of Sydney’s northern beaches, however, are challengers to Gaye’s soulful throne. Glass Ocean is the kind of band that’s hard to describe without making tasteless allusions to coital interactions most men dare not dream of. Suffice to say that their debut self-titled EP is the soundtrack to elevator affairs.
The first thing you notice in opening track “Eternity” is front-dude Tobias Atkin’s ridiculously sensuous voice. Barry White would nod approvingly at the levels of foreplay in Atkin’s syrupy chops…I lost myself there for a moment. Ahem. Anyway, he’s got a hell of a range, too, going deeper than the Mariana Trench (that’s what she said) before effortlessly switching to a pleasing mid-range baritone and everything in between. His guitar work is amazing, too. Gorgeous, simple melodies abound from his strings, while bassist Joshua Haworth brings a pleasing low end to the tunes. Album highlight “Winterhold” is sublime, but finding a weak track on this EP is like finding an arachnid with an endoskeleton, or for the low brow among you, like finding a virgin in Silvio Berlusconi’s cabinet.
Unfortunately, it’s not all moonlit walks down the beach and being serenaded by the eternal heavenly ballet of the stars themselves. Drummer Nic Pettersen is also the drummer in Northlane. He’s one of the most technically proficient drummers on the face of the earth, and you’d hope so, too, considering how crazy some of Northlane’s songs get (link to Scarab). However, he’s simultaneously one of Glass Ocean’s biggest musical assets and definitely their biggest hindrance. Pettersen is saying far too much throughout Glass Ocean’s run time. He’s everywhere at all times, and while it’s interesting to hear him paradiddle, china splash, and double kick his way through an ambient rock soundtrack to seduction (and he brings some welcome dynamics and pacing to the songs), there’s a time and a place. Jesus, Nic, we already know how good you are at drumming. Calm your tits.
In summary, Glass Ocean is a great EP, let down by one member showcasing his talent at the expense of the music. Those guitar melodies I mentioned before are like honeyed wine, but you can barely hear them over Pettersen slamming away on his kit. This EP is a classic example of why less is sometimes more. Less drums would have meant more room for the vocals and guitars to explore, and then who knows how good it could have been. As it is, it’s a great but not fantastic EP that should serve as a lesson in how not to show restraint for all aspiring bands out there.