Quite simply if there has been a better slab of pop rock than the Confessions EP from UK rockers Ocasan this year than we must have missed something very special as the Buckinghamshire trio has just set a very high bar for the scene. To be fair the band has pretty much matched the quality of this release already in the past twelve months with their two previous EPs, London Town and Whitey Two Step, though Confessions has the edge over both. The third of a trilogy of releases which makes up the band’s second album Elixir, which presumably itself will get an individual release ahead, the EP is a riotous stomp of contagious hook loaded songs which give feet, ears, and emotions a fun filled work out.
Hailing from Milton Keynes, Ocasan formed in 2007 and were swiftly earning attention from fans and the underground media, which in turn led to a wider spotlight, especially with the release of debut album Ricochet in 2011. Live too the band has drawn acclaim and constantly left audiences regaling their performances whilst touring relentlessly across the UK and Europe, as well as taking in Russia, Canada, and festival appearances at the likes of Spirit of Burgas and AmpRocks. The three EPs introducing and making up Elixir sees the band press on the strongest spotlight yet, one to match the open maturity in songwriting and sound soaking them. Confessions is the prize of the lot with its dark tone and seductive shadows, though each EP brings an invigorating and potent aspect to what will surely be a greedily devoured album.
The best way to describe Ocasan’s sound is The Police meets Fall Out Boy and eighties band Jim Jiminee with, in the case of the new EP, a healthy and warped spice of Oingo BoingoLondon Town and Whitey Two Step, t. It is a sound which is familiar yet new simultaneously and from opening track Invincible, manna for the ears. An opening bait of rhythms from drummer Luke McDonnell sets ears and attention alert before chunky riffs from Nick Burns and a pulsating bassline laid by Nathan Naidoo go to work on the imagination. Just as quickly stabbing reggae spiced enticement openly seeded in the likes of The Police, flirts as Burns’ vocals impressively unveils the song’s narrative. Sinews and rugged rhythms add to the captivating mix, expelling moments of rigorous intent within the warm stroll of the song. There is also a drama to the track, and ultimately the EP, which arguably has not wrapped the band’s previous encounters, an imposing almost theatrical essence which helps the songs leap out with their inescapable lures.
The impressive start is followed by the similarly flavoursome Dark Cloud, guitars instantly cladding ears in melodic enterprise as equally expressive and vibrant vocals join the transfixing call of the magnetic track. As catchy as anything on the release, there is also a heavier rock tone and underbelly to the excellent encounter which nicely tempers yet compliments the melodic roar of song and vocals. Its success though is soon paled by the outstanding Parasite, one of the songs of the year in our book. From the first bulging note of the addiction forging bassline opening the song, passions are gripped and enslaved. Beats pound masterfully across this irresistible bait too, the central bass hook swinging like a lust fuelled temptress as the guitar sends sonic slithers across its temptation. It is a delicious start which only ignites again as the band’s vocal adds anthemic mischief before Burns like a vaudeville host parades the track’s tale. With more ingenious snags than barbed wire fencing, the song is simply glorious and has voice and body grooving to its tune quicker than Usain Bolt in a tail wind.
The title track brings the EP to a close and returns to the same sultry charm and warm melodic endeavour which started it all off, though through its own individual and riveting design. Easy going and smoothly flavoursome, the song is less inventive than certainly its predecessor but another stylish and virulently infectious proposition to reinforce the potency of the EP and increasingly impressive creative adventure of the band.
Confessions may at times feed more than wrong foot expectations from those well aware of Ocasan, but it also adds to the release’s strength to provide one of 2014’s most enjoyable and exciting rock ‘n’ pop releases.
The Confessions EP is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/confessions-elixir-3-ep/id922878604
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