Oceans on the Moon is a music project from Genoa, Italy, that formed in 2012 by electronic artists Marco Martini (bass/keyboards/programming) and Andrea Leone (vocals/keyboards/programming/guitars). Since 2014, drummer Andrea Pellicone joined in and put his skills at the service of the duo in their recent recordings, namely their full-length album II. Oceans on the Moon’s sound is a hypnotic mix of explorative post-rock combined with vital rhythmic elements of contemporary new wave and originals from an assimilation of trip-hop skillfully arranged with eclectic styles.
Martini and Leone have had a long-time fascination with Radiohead’s experiments between alternative rock and electronica. The band states that their album contains a “boundary electronica capable of harnessing itself within a never predictable alternative that borrows Radiohead's lesson, Cousteau-like vocal lines and the unpredictability of a new wave structure mixed with the dark and mystery-laden assortments of Tricky – II is a journey into the depths of our view of the world.”
Within the first minute of the opening lines of “A Lost Generation,” I knew I would love this band. My first impressions of Oceans’ sound were like mentioned before, Radiohead, but also the disco-tech like/electronica of Berlin-era Bowie and perhaps the darker edges of New Order or a pop version of Peter Murphy. I don’t know for sure, but there’s lots of great sounds just in this opening number for sure.
“Enter Free” has a low soulful feel with deep bass lines and thumping electric beats mixed with a fluttering snare drum. The moodiness of this song brings to mind some mystery story filled with plenty of espionage and cheating lovers. Sounds like it belongs in a James Bond movie, right? Next is “Anonymous Visitors” and it features a hissing electronic beat with retro ‘80s synths – so good. It’s definitely moody but it mixes that mood with the classic hallmarks of new wave. This one was my favorite so far.
“Ballad of the Sold Youth” showcases a trippy skipping beat, intense and jumpy – I liked the balance between this and the live sound of Pellicone’s drums. Here again, you’ll hear the brooding, dark and smooth lines of Martini’s bass and Leone’s vocals get a special echoing effect early in. The style is also very goth-like – trippy and more experimental and less of that death metal feeling.
“Trojans” features repeating synth and bass melodies and equally what sounds like repeating lyrics. This one reminded me particularly of Bowie’s Low or something off of Outside, his second venture with Brian Eno – honestly, I’d be amazed if Oceans on the Moon were not somehow influenced by the Starman in some way.
The beginning to “Demetra” is extra trippy, hypnotic and the bass lines are extra deep and syrupy. Leone’s vocals get a layering of echo effects adding to the song’s overall trippy-ness. It’s like, what would you get if you added a dark trip/trip-hop to ambient – this is what you would get. “At the Walls,” in my view, is one of the band’s best on this album. Their writing and structure seem tighter, more focused and the addition of the “brass like” keys add an extra instrumental element. I thought the fade out was brilliant, too. Overall, there’s a lot of parts going on, but if you’re not into this sort of music, I would still suggest listening to this one. The last number is “Unconscious Killer” and it begins with a deafening, drowning bass beat and hypnotic, goth-like singing. What threw me a curve ball though, was the energized beats with great off tempo and distorted guitars. This one feels more electronica, almost post-industrial in some ways, but brilliant in every way. Dang, can these guys go on tour and come to the states?
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