Being As An Ocean – ‘PROXY – An A.N.I.M.O. Story’

By Dave Stewart

We are all important. We all matter. That’s a very bold way to open a review of a post-hardcore record, sure, but it isn’t said enough. Our collective culture is suffering damage, with more and more battles with personal pain and mental health being lost than ever before. Growing numbers of bands are stepping forward and lighting their beacon of hope for the lost to gather around, and it’s a truly beautiful time to be a part of this community. But there is a band that has always been an advocate for those struggling the most, and their fire has never stopped burning. That band is Being As An Ocean.

If you’ve ever been to a Being As An Ocean show, you’ll have witnessed the charisma and heart of front man Joel Quartuccio first hand. He often preaches to his audiences about struggles and hardships and reassures them that it’s okay not to be okay, and that his band will always be there for them. His words are always genuine, and the love the band receives in return is in enormous supply. Their new record ‘PROXY – An A.N.I.M.O. Story’ is full of more of that unwavering honesty, and you’d better believe that it’s expertly sewn into every single track.

It’s not just the words that are rife with authenticity – the music carries the same trait. It’s as though the music has been especially crafted to elevate the lyrics, driving home a real sense of passion and feeling that oozes out of the speakers in waves. Take ‘Brave’, for example – a song that gently flows in and out of serene and delicate passages, using ever-evolving melodies and rich instrumentation to heighten the intensity of both Quartuccio and guitarist Michael McGough’s silky vocal tones.

‘Tragedy’ is a taste of the same, incorporating a little more punch in the form of distorted guitars and pounding drums in the chorus to help the melodies soar. ‘Lowlife (Ode To The Underworld)’ has the potential to be a live anthem, boasting an addictive vocal melody that’s thrust skyward by thunderous drums and simplistic but powerful chords. First single ‘Play Pretend’ is a monstrous riff-heavy delight, ‘B.O.Y.’ is a purebred uptempo pit starter, ‘Watch Me Bleed’ is a radio-friendly giant – there’s a little taste of everything here, and it all fits together into one consistent and neat package.

The most satisfying moments here, though, aren’t found in the guitar-led mammoths. Sure, the ballsier tracks like catchy powerhouse ‘See Your Face’ and the infectious ‘Find Our Way’ are instant brain invaders, but the biggest gem is hidden in the quietest part of the record. ‘Skin’ is that gem – a delicate and moving lullaby, gently caressing your soul into absolute calm as it slowly moves through spacious reverb-soaked guitars and gut-wrenching vocals that would thaw even the coldest of hearts. It embodies everything that this band stands for and delivers a punch that bands much heavier than them can’t deliver. Their honesty shines through here, and it’s blinding – the centerpiece of a varied and beautifully delivered album.

This was the logical next step for Being As An Ocean to take. If you listen to their last record immediately followed by this, you can hear the progression. ‘Waiting For Morning To Come’ was them experimenting with a new direction – ‘PROXY – An A.N.I.M.O. Story’ is them crafting it into something spectacular. The vocal delivery throughout the record is sensational, and the blend of electronic atmospherics and roaring guitars only strengthens their impact.

Listen to this record from beginning to end – the journey that it takes you on is both moving and exhilarating. It’s like walking through a kaleidoscope cycling through endless shapes and colours, and when it gets overwhelming a hand reaches out and brings you right back down to safety. This is the sound of a band embracing their pain and moving forwards to a more steady future, and we’re all invited to join them.

DAVE STEWART

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