Oceansize - Clwb Ifor Bach
Live Review

Oceansize – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

On the back of their most challenging and rewarding album to date, the excellent ‘Frames’; Manchester’s Oceansize have hit the road to take their latest slice of forward thinking post-rock to the masses. Unfortunately for them, the masses just haven’t shown up tonight, rendering the usually cramped confines of Clwb’s top floor seemingly vast. Perhaps they’re all at home home listening to the new Radiohead album on repeat, perhaps the demands of digesting music that requires a little chewing on before you can swallow is just a little too much for the average Fall Out Boy obsessed attention span. Who knows? Either way, it’s their loss.

But we’re getting way ahead of ourselves here; what about the support bands I hear you cry. Well, what about them? Looking utterly bored, and packing about as much genuine bite as an old peoples home, Slaves To Gravity kick off tonight’s proceedings with a whimper. Peddling their own take on a brand of hard rock previously thought to have been lost to the annals of history, watching them meander their way through their set is an awkward experience to say the least. They look and play like they’d rather be anywhere else than here, and judging by the audiences rather muted applause as they finally traipse from the stage, most feel it would probably have been better if that had indeed been the case.

However, as soon as the Oceansize boys take the stage, and guitarist Steve Durose unfurls the first notes of the superbly titled ‘Commemorative 9/11 t-shirt’, the bar swiftly empties, and all that has gone before is quickly forgotten. Moody, intense sounscapes drift ethereally across the floor, the triple guitar inter-play of Durose, Gambler and Vennart sweeping you up in its intricacies and subtleties, playing off the scatter shot drum beats, and demanding you pay attention just in case you miss even the most delicate of details. But what is often forgotten about Oceansize is that they can be as brutal as they are beautiful, shifting seamlessly from the ambient to the apocalyptic in a matter of a chord change. Never is this more evident than during ‘Trail Of Fire’ where a gentle piano riff leads you head first into a wall of thrashing guitars, crunching low end bass and double kick drum. Wonderful.

Despite the odd technical hitch, and one of front man Mike Vennart’s guitars seemingly determined effort to throw him off his stride by consistently slipping out of tune, tonight’s is a performance by a band that deserve a hell of a lot more credit than they’re currently receiving. Those in attendance this evening that have been paying attention for sometime, embrace live favourite, ‘Catalyst’ like an old friend, and as the closing bars of the frankly epic ‘Ornament / The Last Wrong’ fade out, everyone who shunned listening to the new Radiohead album for the umpteenth time that day in favour of lending their ears to Oceansize for a few hours instead, knows they made the right decision.

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