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Album Review: The Frozen Ocean - In Exile

Dallas Green and his swooning voice and heartfelt lyrics have a lot to answer for. His ability to make Ladies and Gents hearts melt in an instant, have lead to numerous tattooed band-types ditching the loud and heavy for the soppy and introspective. Though I have neither seen nor heard any of his previous bands, I get the impression that David Swanson, the voice and brains behind The Frozen Ocean, is another of these types. ‘In Exile’, his second offering under this moniker, has some moments of brilliance, but most of it falls largely under the radar.

‘Caught In The Air’ serves as a big warning of things to come. It starts magnificently and by the two minute mark has morphed into a great instrumental opening track. However, instead of ending and moving onto the next track, it continues on a loop for another two minutes plus, and instead of the atmospheric opener it should have been it becomes an aural cheese-grater.

Things pick up on ‘Empty Seed’, an up-beat ballad about his love for his wife, not about impotence as the title might infer. The instrumentation throughout ‘In Exile’ is noteworthy, The Frozen Ocean utilise synth, strings and vocoders as well as guitar, bass and drums. Swanson’s voice itself is also quite appealing, but many of the songs are of a similar tempo and overall sound, leading to his voice becoming dull after a while.

‘In Exile’'s greatest problem is that most of the songs whimper rather than roar, and as a result fail to stand out. There’s little that stands out across the entire EP, with the exception of the aforementioned ‘Empty Seed’ and the brilliant closing track ‘Promised Land’. Apparently taking it’s cues from traditional Irish music it sounds more like alt-country with its liberal use of the fiddle and plenty of whoops and hollers at the beginning and close. ‘Promised Land’ is the perfect example of finishing on a high, and is the standout track of a rather bland release.

The Frozen Ocean has it’s heart in the right place, but hasn’t quite mastered the skill of crafting a great song. ‘The Promised Land’ is well-worth purchasing, but there’s little else to shout about on here unfortunately.


Dan Issitt

‘In Exile’ by The Frozen Ocean is available now through Come & Live Records.

The Frozen Ocean on MySpace

Dan Issitt

Alter The Press!