Artists with diverse influences are certainly not new. One with the ability to take their varied interests, though, and create a coherent, startling album is something a little more rare. Take Oceansize, who accomplish just that merging and meddling of themes on their sophomore album, Everyone Into Position. Drawing valid comparisons to early Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead, the album fluctuates in style but never loses its pace or flow throughout its 10 tracks, only one of which clocks in at under five minutes. Considering the length of the songs and the ambitious nature of the project, that the album keeps itself interesting from start to finish is quite an accomplishment.
Everyone Into Position opens with a freakish mutation that sounds like it was culled from both Soundgarden and Pink Floyd, where lead singer Mike Vennart’s vocals are placed behind the intensely complex, textured music. After the vicious opening, it’s surprising to hear the group slow things down; the album would almost seem to change drastically and be an amorphous blob if not for the consistently interesting mixing and layering of tracks. Oceansize dubs the close of their album the “church suite,” which strives for meaning but really just indicates the use of an organ and an intermittent choir a la The Killers’ “All These Things That I’ve Done.”
Everyone Into Position would sound right at home in the middle of the grunge-metal of the early ’90s; what’s unfortunate is that the lyrics are that dated as well. It’s not that they’re bad, but they’re made up of the same anti-establishment, personal-torture routine that’s been run through the shredder time and time again. The liner notes confirm such suspicion, with scrawled lyrics of variable readability, supposedly written by Vennart while locked away for three months of his own solitary confinement. Oceansize wants desperately to join in on the 15-year-old party, and Everyone Into Position is an album that gives them a table right in the middle of it.