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Over The Ocean - Paper House Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 7
Production 8.5
Creativity 7
Lasting Value 8
Reviewer Tilt 9
Final Verdict: 81%
Member Ratings
Vocals 7.75
Musicianship 8.25
Lyrics 7.5
Production 8.5
Creativity 8.25
Lasting Value 7.25
Reviewer Tilt 7.5
Average: 79%
Inside AP.net

Over The Ocean - Paper House

Reviewed by: Sean Rizzo (08/26/11)
Over The Ocean - Paper House
Record Label: Spartan Records
Release Date: July 26, 2011

Who?

The post-rock quartet known as Over The Ocean began forming in 2009, when a group of friends spontaneously came to the conclusion that they should be making music together. Originally nothing more than a creative outlet for their newly realized sonic mission, the project soon became a very serious one as they continued to write and play more shows. Eventually, Over The Ocean gained enough of a following that they were able to release a DIY album with the help of generous donations from their newly acquired fanbase. That album, Paper House, is the subject of my review.

How is it?

Paper House is a potent concoction where indie folk meets post-rock to form a regal, titanic hymn. Packed with smashing crescendos, deeply spiritual lyrics, and an air of dignity and majesty fit for a king's symphony, this album serves as a fitting homage to the higher power it speaks of. Guitar work not unlike something from the catalogues of Godspeed You! Black Emperor or If These Trees Could Talk is a commonality amongst the tracks, creating a depressingly ominous atmosphere. The percussion creates a very serious tone from the outset, enhancing the feeling that the guitars put forward. Despite the obvious difference in pitch and intonation, lead vocalist Jesse Hill shares the style and sobering emotions of Johnny Cash's epitaph rendition of "Hurt". Though Jesse's voice is humble and at times exasperated and defeated, his hopeful words serve as a beacon shining through the desperate and murky landscape. When taken in full, it struck me that Paper House is a natural response to the immense human suffering brought about by the largely spiritually dead world in which we live. Despite the gloom, there are a few spots on the album ("While You're Raising The Dead") where the atmosphere becomes peaceful and serene, that life will go on, and that earthly suffering isn't eternal. It is in these moments where the album's theme of redemption comes full circle.

Now that I'm done with my well-deserved accolade of a description, let's get down to evaluating some of the nuts and bolts. The production is something to be admired, and is the strongest testament to Over The Ocean's talent. Those of you who have been listening to the album as you are reading this will probably agree with my assertion that this sounds just like your everyday post-rock album, recorded in-studio and polished to perfection. But, well, it's not. Over The Ocean opted to show off the atmosphere and excellence of their live performances rather than creating something even marginally artificial. The entire album was recorded with the band playing each song together as a unit instead of the typical process of recording individual instruments and piecing all the bits together. There are a few minor overdubbing exceptions, but they only serve the same purpose that an on-stage delay pedal would. If any of you ever get to see them live, you'll know precisely what to expect.

The second attribute of note is the three bonus tracks, a demo titled "On The Earth", and acoustic performances of "Something I Was Not" and "I Will Be Silent". The real evaluation of Over The Ocean's live skills comes to fruition in their bonus demo since all the production is removed. I'll be blunt: it sounds great. In fact, part of me prefers the rest of the album to have that GY!BE-esque rawness. As for the acoustics, although seen in glimpses amongst the other tracks, it is with these where Over The Ocean's affinity for their folk roots really comes to life. If they were to make a fully acoustic release of Paper House, I contend it would sound even better than this one, with the added benefit of appealing to a different fanbase.

Those of you who know me know that I've been delving into a lot of post-rock lately. I've noticed that there's a lot of hype in the post-rock community surrounding a handful of names that consistently release very good albums, albeit under a noticeably narrow spectrum of soundscape and innovation. There isn't very much focus on the smaller bands in the genre who take it and meld it with another in a new way. Over The Ocean is a group of the latter type, with Paper House identifying them as such. I hope that their talent will carry them much farther in their career, and that my words have done it justice.

Recommended If You LikeGodspeed You! Black Emperor, If These Trees Could Talk, Toundra, Moving Mountains - Waves, Josh Garrels, Deas Vail, The Bear Romantic (acoustics)

External LinksFacebook, Twitter, buy it on Bandcamp
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 18.
04:58 PM on 08/26/11
#2
Sean Rizzo
Can you see evidence of perfection?
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Note: The picture I provided isn't the actual album art, I was told to post a picture of the band in its place because they're currently having a copyright issue regarding the album art.
05:14 PM on 08/26/11
#3
Matthew Tsai
Born and raised
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Sweet first staff review! Album sounds intriguing.
05:22 PM on 08/26/11
#4
Sean Rizzo
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Sweet first staff review! Album sounds intriguing.
Check it:

05:29 PM on 08/26/11
#5
yetconfused
is no tragic bitch.
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*sobs* I feel like a proud next door neighbor.

05:32 PM on 08/26/11
#6
Sean Rizzo
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*sobs* I feel like a proud next door neighbor.

lolwut
07:08 PM on 08/26/11
#7
yetconfused
is no tragic bitch.
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well, i can't say a proud mom, seeing as i'm younger than you.
08:08 PM on 08/26/11
#8
David Stirneman
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Thanks to your review I am listening to these guys on bandcamp as I write this. So far your review seems right on the mark. Well written. Thanks for helping me discover new good music.
10:35 PM on 08/26/11
#9
Matthew Tsai
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Wow. Ok, going to have to check this out now.
06:14 AM on 08/27/11
indiesuperman
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Yes! Awesome review and spot on, too! I've been listening to these guys for about a month now and Paper House has quickly become one of my favorite albums of the year. Thank you for finding it and doing such a great review on it. I hope this introduces the band to a lot more folks. These guys deserve the audience and the accolades.
08:32 AM on 08/27/11
brandonisstupid
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Very nice review, Sean. I love this band and this record and I think these guys deserve every bit of attention that they get.
01:30 PM on 08/27/11
Sean Rizzo
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Very nice review, Sean. I love this band and this record and I think these guys deserve every bit of attention that they get.
Agreed.

Thanks to your review I am listening to these guys on bandcamp as I write this. So far your review seems right on the mark. Well written. Thanks for helping me discover new good music.
Glad to be of service! Stay tuned for more.

Wow. Ok, going to have to check this out now.
It pays to listen to me, man.

Yes! Awesome review and spot on, too! I've been listening to these guys for about a month now and Paper House has quickly become one of my favorite albums of the year. Thank you for finding it and doing such a great review on it. I hope this introduces the band to a lot more folks. These guys deserve the audience and the accolades.
It's definitely going on my list too.
05:38 PM on 08/27/11
DJWildefire
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The song you posted was pretty underwhelming to me, but solid review.
07:17 PM on 08/27/11
CheckeredFloors
nah
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Everything Will Change is any absolutely fantastic song. Go listen to that if you want to check them out.

Good to see these guys getting some coverage too.

PS. You spelt 'emperor' wrong a few times there.
08:10 PM on 08/27/11
Sean Rizzo
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Everything Will Change is any absolutely fantastic song. Go listen to that if you want to check them out.

Good to see these guys getting some coverage too.

PS. You spelt 'emperor' wrong a few times there.
Thanks, fixed.
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