These days, it's hard for rock bands to resist the urge to make sure everything is over-the-top and extreme in one way or another. To set themselves apart from the usual indie-rock flair, most current acts come in two varieties: those that boast the loudest, heaviest or fastest music out there, or those that claim the fewest members or fewest instruments.
But real rock 'n' roll songs live in the middle somewhere, and the best rock bands can manage an ebb and flow between stripped-down, minimal instrumentation and full-on hysteria.
Edmond's Somerset West is well on its way to finding this balance, and its fresh release, "The New Ocean Sound EP," is a great blend of young songwriting and musicianship. Listening to the record makes one wonder why more bands' especially local ones' don't put out shorter albums more often, because each of the disc's five songs is well-written, -performed and -recorded. "There's Still Time to Settle," the third track, starts thick and big, with guitars blaring and drums building a wall of noise. A simple guitar line and drum beat punctures through, giving way to delicate vocals and allowing room to build again to an epic bridge.
"Recovery" and "In Form and Feature" capture a great live energy and a steadily paced, guitar-driven rock sound. Finally, the title track blends acoustic melodies and interlaced vocal harmonies with crashing guitars and clashing drums in a wonderful end-of-album cascade.
Listen for yourself. It's easily among the best blend of young bands, new recording and future potential in the Oklahoma City metro this year.