The Sound of Animals Fighting
The Ocean and the Sun
Thu, Sep 11, 2008 (midnight)
Shed of numerous auxiliary members yet still shrouded within their Kiss-like alter-egos (the Nightingale, the Walrus, the Lynx and the Skunk), the side project of one former and two current members of Rx Bandits, along with Circa Survive’s Anthony Green, is determined to go out big … and it’s taking the rest of the world with it.
The progressive collective pushes its experimental proclivities to the extreme on this third and final effort, a concept album lyrically rooted in terra firma. However, nearly all traces of the band’s post-hardcore pedigree are downplayed in favor of techno-wizardry, sound samples and even a haunting children’s choir thrown in for good measure. The net result isn’t as natural as it is supernatural, indecipherable chanting heralding a vaguely ominous, ever-encroaching evil more powerful than melting icecaps. Then again, multiple female-spoken snippets and harmonies (“Ahab,” “On the Occasion of Wet Snow,” among others) may not be ethereal at all, but as cold and futuristic as anything from the Ladytron oeuvre. Further deepening the mystery, far-flung influences from Coheed and Cambria to Minus the Bear crop up throughout; the furiously twitching “Uzbekistan” nearly evokes The Beta Band on peyote. At times tumultuous, mountaintop-serene at others, The Ocean and the Sun is above all, as its name implies, deep and otherworldly, wild and untamable as the critters at its core.