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Grungy post-punk with a bit of emo, The Only Ocean from Lompoc, CA released their debut EP ‘Kaleidoscopic,’ April 18, 2011.  Playing since highschool, the members are Wesley Hill (Guitar, Vocals), Dustin Whalen (Lead Guitar), Alex Burdess (Bass), and Shae Kakos (Drums).

Exploding with the heart-thumping realization of being haunted, The Only Ocean takes off.  “Those Ghosts” have The Only Ocean running, but not wild.  The punkish rambling in this opening track is tempered by statements of not fulfilling your expectations regarding the typical fight/flight reaction:  “I’m not gonna get mad and lash out in anger.  I’m not gonna get sad and break down and cry.”  They will play to their own tune, not to your expectations, but you may ultimately appreciate their individuality.

The Only Ocean is a band led by the classic adolescent vocals that made bands like Blink 182 and Jimmy Eat World successful.  Hill’s vocals work when expressing defiance in post-punk tracks like “I’ll Never Know.”  The juvenile “please just give me a chance” tone almost works for songs like “Gone” which expresses resistance toward denying the true self.   The vocals don’t quite make it though in “Everything for You” where instead of endearing, the lyrics become whiny, and lines like “I would drop anything for you” sound contrived.

The Only Ocean searches its heart a bit more in the mellow beginnings of “12 Things.”  But then the guitars rev up and – ack – the strained vocals persist.  Sounding like a track that possibly came off a Weezer album, the instrumentals are decent enough; they just get overshadowed by the lacking vocals.

The Only Ocean alternates between grungy outbursts and groovy reflections in “My Thoughts” Again the vocals distract more than enhance, but the music itself is certainly engaging.

Rating:  2.5/5


Hear and download The Only Ocean’s ‘Kaleidoscopic,’ a name-your-price album, through bandcamp.