Ghost Ocean - Transparent Lines Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: February 26, 2011
“Such a useless cry / When the times define your life / You owe body and soul”
These are the first words that are heard on Ghost Ocean’s debut Transparent Lines.
Don’t know what that means but it sounds cool, right?
Well, everyone else probably won't be in the same mindset as me on their first listen (take your time you'll figure it out). Therefore, I’ll elaborate. Hailing from Worcester, Massachusetts (the stomping ground for bands like Bury Your Dead and Four Year Strong), it doesn’t surprise me of Ghost Ocean’s choice in sound. The music scene there is almost buried with hardcore bands and, while not as “heavy” as most bands in that scene, Ghost Ocean definitely fits in this category. Some of you probably left the room just now.
But wait, don’t walk out just yet. While their sound is nothing new nor creative, that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. Ghost Ocean’s debut has the talent to satisfy any music fan who appreciates melodic hardcore. One can’t really blame them for being from a specific music scene, plus demographics don’t really play an important role when talking about music, so enough with the social studies lecture.
Transparent Lines starts with “Catalyst,” which is a more slower song on the album, though still filled with hard hitting post-hardcore roots. In fact, the band even throws in some atmospheric guitar works to even out the heavier parts. “Without Warning” starts with a blast as vocalist Jake Pagoaga yells, “It was that perfect daze in that perfect gaze.” If the musicianship hasn’t already caught your attention, Pagoaga’s voice is guaranteed to grab it and hold it down. His gruw yells are powerful and his transitions to cleaner singing are smooth.
I keep using the word hardcore a lot to describe the band, but I think post-hardcore or melodic hardcore would be a better term. Throughout the album, the band fills each song with catchy hooks and infectious choruses while not falling into the pop category. “Same Old State” contains one of the best choruses on the album, while “Dying Days” goes for a more gritty approach.
The only problem on the album comes in the form of instrumental “Segue.” While not a bad instrumental, it feels out of place on the record. Another full song would have been a better idea, or simply taking the instrumental out altogether would do the album more justice. But it does transition into “Strange Parody,” the best song on the album. The band really went all out on this one. Pagoaga’s vocals shine through like a ray of light. The band shows their best musicianship and songwriting. If there was a song that was the pinnacle of Transparent Lines, it would be (and already is) “Strange Parody.” “Wasted World” ends the album with a gang chant and a predictable yet smart structure.
While not the most creative endeavor nor does it stand out amongst others, Transparent Lines shows what Ghost Ocean is. Aside from the unnecessary instrumental, there is nothing I can think of that needs changing on the album. It proves that nothing needs to be original in order to be good. While they might have grown up in a hardcore based town, with Transparent Lines the band could prove to be more than just another rehash of sound. I'll drink to that.
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