Prog rock is a fickle genre, with a fine line present between innovatively driving and tediously dull. Unfortunately for Australian collective Glass Ocean, their debut album The Remnants of Losing Yourself in Someone Else falls into the latter.
The 11-track release is full of confliction. How can an album feel so busy yet unfulfilling? The trouble lies with the instrumentation’s failure to intertwine. In all but one track, it translates as the guitars, bass and drums merely coexisting in the same piece, rarely complimenting or even cooperating with one another. They use their off-the-beat and complex rhythms as a USP but lead guitarist Julian Dobric layers plucked solos and chords directly over drummer Patrick Smith’s patterns, causing for messy math rock attempts rather than meeting progressive rock’s defined tropes. Fifth track ‘Burn’ is the only one in which the instruments flow coherently with one another, and don’t depend on excessive production as a distraction. It stands as one of the strongest songs on the album, although still isn’t particularly enticing in the grand scheme of things.
Another ever-present issue with The Remnants of Losing Yourself in Someone Else is the track lengths. Most songs peak within the first two minutes, leaving the remaining 90-120 seconds drawling as there’s simply nothing else to add. Although none exceed the 4:30 mark, it’s still a cliché they’ve fallen into. Take ‘Soul Slumber’, for example. An otherwise decent take on a classic 80s offering, dowsed in appropriate production and twinkling synth notes, is plateaued by unnecessary repetition.
As a whole, The Remnants of Losing Yourself in Someone Else feels as though it lost something else along the way. Despite vocalist Tobias Atkins and co-writer Nic Petterson hinting at passion, it’s a 38-minute anti-climax that lacks any form of strong emotion in the music. By missing obvious necessities such as basic, percussion-driven choruses, Glass Ocean’s debut has rid itself of a lot of potential. Their downfalls are easy to rectify in future releases, but it’s concerning that such simple issues are present this far into their careers.
The Remnants Of Losing Yourself In Someone Else is released August 21st
via Wild Thing Records. Pre-order the record here.