Artist:  Oceans Above  
Title:  Oceans Above
Label:  Sparrow

Described by its record label as “more of a concept than an actual band,” Oceans Above is a group of musicians who are attempting to make classic praise & worship songs sound totally original and completely their own. The resulting debut album not only defines Oceans Above’s unique sound, but takes the familiar into a new realm of synthetic sound and electric energy.

The album kicks off with an ethereal, other-worldly spin on the tried and true worship classic, “Beautiful One.” It jumps immediately from there to the collective’s interpretation of “O Praise Him” which, oddly enough, reminds the listener of a Moulin Rouge-esque montage. The next few songs embellish the simple melodies of worship classics with heavily layered synth, unique percussion selections (xylophone, anyone?) and repetitive vocal descants that bring to mind the music of the UK bands Frou Frou and Zero 7, with a hint of Imogen Heap’s styling thrown in. While Oceans lacks the finesse of many other electronic-sounding groups, originality shines through with this debut effort.

Perhaps Oceans Above’s smartest move comes toward the latter half of the album when multi-talented indie artist Katie Herzig’s vocal takes the lead. While Steve Sudduth’s voice, which commands the first half of the record, is pleasant, it’s not exceptional and tends to get lost between the many layers. When Herzig comes in, though, her unique voice gives the group what they need to hold on to—their own cohesive sound—instrumentation and vocals.

Oceans Above has not “arrived,” but with obvious artistic potential, the concept is well on its way. 


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