Oceanator: Things I Never Said (Plastic Miracles) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, July 16th, 2024  

Things I Never Said

Plastic Miracles

Aug 27, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

The apocalypse is often foretold in biblical terms, with falling skies and cracked earth playing common imagery. But for NYC multi-instrumentalist Elise Okusami—better known as Oceanator—the end of the world has been far more mundane, marked by sleepless nights, bottled up anxieties, and weary consumption of the latest news. On Things I Never Said, Oceanator marries the hyperbolic imagery of apocalypse with the anxious undercurrents and looming depression that characterize so much of today’s turbulent early adulthood. It is all soundtracked to a distinctive swirl of grunge-tinged guitar pop that lifts Oceanator’s debut above its contemporaries.

Lead single “A Crack in the World” quickly outlines the record’s thesis—“There’s a crack in the world/And we’re all hanging on, hanging on trying not to fall through the void.” Later, on “Sky Is Falling,” Okusami is the apathetic eye of the storm as the guitars build in intensity and the lyrics trace her resignation as the world seemingly falls apart around her. While the premise may seem bleak, Okusami balances the existential angst with cautious optimism and energetic performances. The narrative of the record is ultimately about finding hope in one’s darkest times.

The brightest spots on the record are the ones that find these small moments of joy despite impending despair. “I Would Find You” encapsulates this element as Okusami swears that even were the world to end, “I would follow you/I would stay with you.” The peppy guitar arpeggios and power pop energy on “Heartbeat” are another highlight, capturing the lovesick sugar rush of a new love, while the vintage guitar pop of “Walk With You” fits well with its charming declarations of devotion. The punchy, melodic core to these tracks breaks up the flow of the album nicely as the lighthearted change of pace keeps the album’s crashing walls of guitar from becoming suffocating.

While the distorted guitar pop on Things I Never Said may not be the most novel sound in the indie scene, Okusami keeps her songwriting fresh with undeniably catchy melodies and dynamics within the songs themselves that keep the record moving at a steady pace. Touches such as the sludgey, half-tempo guitars in the climax of “Crack in the World” show Oceanator’s capacity for captivating instrumental ideas as well. The dramatic, chugging march to the guitars on the closer, “Sunshine,” builds the tension higher and higher but never quite hits the resolution of an explosive climax, drawing the album to a close on an uneasy, yet cautiously optimistic note.

While nothing as dire as a crack in the world has come about yet, it is not hard to connect with Oceanator’s anxieties or her attempts to “keep the skies blue anyway.” Her debut taps into both the intrusive stresses of young adult malaise and the desire to hold on to those we love close in response, making for an instantly relatable listen. When packaged with memorable grunge pop melodies, these elements make for one of the most addictive indie debuts of this year. (www.oceanator.bandcamp.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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