Mid-week quickie: Fostermother, the ocean

Is The Ocean by Fostermother the best album so far this year, a masterpiece destined to be a classic?

Probably not. It’s just a very good album. That’s some of what sets it apart: it’s an album. Not a concept per se, but a collection of songs with a common theme. I think that theme is how to be human in times such as these, with some effective soul-searching and a slight wringing of the hands.

The riffs are indeed mighty. The TONE of the guitar work ranges from awesome to just plain sick. Plant a smile on your face till it snaps sick, but not all the time. If there’s such a thing as ‘dynamic fuzz’, like dynamic range, this one’s got it.

The bass: totally the equal of the six-string work. I wanna to know the amps/cabs/pedals in the rig. It’s solid, satisfying stuff on the low end. At times, it’s glorious when it’s time for the bass to take center stage. Stephen Griffin knows his craft well.

The drums seem a bit subdued, but there’s a tastefulness that goes along with it that works for me. On headphones, the clarity of the recording is exceptional. I’m pretty sure these aren’t sampled drums. Hats off to drummer Jason Motamedi and the recording/production of guitarist and vocalist Travis Weatherred .

If I have one reservation, it’s that Travis did so much. It makes me wonder what would happen if he had the guidance of a pro not so close to the whole thing. But it’s a minor thought: the album stands fine on its own.

Overall, the album is an emotional journey. I find the writing and arrangements interesting and layered. The lyrics are pretty straight-to-the-point, and deal with some pretty heavy stuff.

To close, the more I listen to this, the more it grows on me. It probably deserves more than a quickie review, but I want to get something out there to draw at least a bit more attention to it. It’s pretty good, might even be great after all. A few more listens will tell…

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