By Oliver Shasha
For most artists, debut singles serve as an experimental taster, a test of the water, a ‘feeler’. Most artists though aren’t Timothy Kelley, the creative mind and principal songwriter of rock outfit Oceaneater. Coming straight out of the blocks with a three and a half minute whirlwind of genre bending guitar infused bohemia, the song begins in a high-octane cacophony of driven drums and rhythm guitars, emblematic of early punk pioneers Buzzcocks and The Damned. Like all the best punk / garage anthems the instrumentation is rudimental, allowing for the vocal performance and production to shine.
Throughout the song a delayed lead vocal innocently stalks behind the lead melody and gives plenty of texture to the verse and chorus arrangements. The choruses explode with sustained cymbals and aggressive backing vocals that fire away and serve as a healthy addition to what is by this point an exciting rock song, a track that wouldn’t seem out of place on an early Spring King record.
The middle eight instils a change of pace, half time drums further emphasise the heavily distorted guitars, evoking an almost Black Sabbath-esque take on the twisted expression of modern rock. The screams of unsuspecting characters in this section transcend Kelley’s vision from an uplifting punk-like headbanger into an unsettling plunge into the gothic depths of the unknown. It is at this point that the listener becomes ever more vulnerable to Kelley’s deceptive song writing, as the track’s final destination is made less and less clear. But just as you’re about to beg for mercy, the light at the end of the tunnel at last reveals itself, and the returning themes of progressive punk come as comforting, and as reassuring. Based upon this middle section, the potential to develop these darker motifs is hugely interesting, and whether or not Kelley chooses to take this path is an exciting prospect at the very least.
Listen to ‘Strike Twice’ here:
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