The bricks in the wall of sound that appeal to the listener the easiest would be the vocals, which are very reminiscent James Maynard Keenan. Overall, the entire EP has a healthy dose of toolesque visionary progressive rock. Defy The Ocean’s sound is quite opulent, especially for a duo. The multi-layered tonal foundation is consistently enshrouding. An outstanding element of their sound is that the guitar playing is not based on catchy riffage, but on almost random yet coherent patterns, like water drops on a window.
The prologue ‘Rest’ pronounces the EP wonderfully. It almost feels like a bittersweet realisation, a retrospective of significant moments in your life that will inevitably alter the future. The chord progression takes the listener gently from light hearted hope and drowns him softly in destructive dissonance.
Elderflower is spiced with versatile elements of a vast musical spectrum. ‘Veil’ is of a grunge and doom vibe, heavy in the likes of Alice in Chains.
‘Elderflower’ finds a balance between chewy musical graveness and maddening minimalistic soundscapes and yet there is a sense of groove. The connected structure of the EP is pleasing, for this sense of groove is enlarged drastically in the ending of the following track ‘Brine’. One has to admit, the songs are not very distinctive of another, since the grave mood and pace prevails, but it never bores.
Defy The Ocean have invited guest musicians to contribute to Elderflower. The chitravina amplifies the Tool vibe on the song ‘Vessel’. Various strings, keyboard instruments and backing vocals or vocal noises throughout the entire EP are what give the final score of their sound a meticulous endnote.
Below, you can see the self-directed video for ‘Elderflower’. It is a cynical, twisted and quite a dark sense of humour, and it’s almost a little uncomfortable to watch. When singer/guitarist Chris Theo spoke to teamrock.com, he reveals the background of this track that entitled the EP:
“In this case it tells the story of someone seeking to come to terms with their gender identity later in life. It’s one of our favourite tracks because the music marries so well with the story, and despite its relative structural simplicity, it takes you on an emotive journey that spans resignation, anger, acceptance and regret, all in the space of three short minutes.”
© Overdrive, 2016