Album Review: -aire // The End of the Ocean

The End of the Ocean are seen as hugely influential since releasing their debut album Pacific-Atlantic and the follow-up EP In Excelsis in 2012. Both albums have received 20 million plays on Spotify. But as things seemed to be going well, mental illness, arguments in the camp, and the sickness of close family members plagued the band. They decided to take time of from writing – needing to hurt before they could heal.

Recording their new album ‘-aire’ helped massively in the healing process. It allowed them to create a colossal album. It is both emotionally charged and beautiful at the same time.

The album conveys a hard yet blissful ambience. The atmospheric elements are gorgeous, such as the opening track  ‘Endure.’ The piano and layered synths sound spiritual and holy. Then a post-rock influenced guitar kicks in along with a simplistic piano lead. This adds to the melody, putting the listener in a trance.

There are other trance-like moments on here. It makes for a soothing experience. ‘Jubilant’ is full of delayed layered guitars. All together, they sound like a wall of joyous noise. The drums capture the angry feeling, as they are hit with brute force. The blastbeats shouldn’t work against the ambient textures but they do, and it’s glorious.

‘Homesick’ is a sad song. The melodies are beautiful and stir up the emotions. You can tell it was written with passion, with a build up brimming with anticipation.  But then an angry distorted guitar riff kicks in, combining the peaceful feelings and a refreshing chaos.

‘Redemption’ is an uplifting song with a big riff. It shows how you can rise from the ashes during a testing period in your life and come out the other side. The mellow keys in the background compliment the guitars very well, resulting in a beautiful atmosphere. It is my favourite song on the album because to me it encourages hope and positivity.

‘Ascend’ sums this record up. It is another slow song, but that is what The End of the Ocean are good at. The riffs are gigantic, allowing the listener to get immersed in them. I love the textures, and although it was a long time coming, ‘-aire’ is definitely worth the wait because it is a special album.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos   

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