Telling a heartbreak story is always freeing, but making your story stand out for the masses is the real challenge. Oceanator tells a painful and dynamic story in Lows, a huge EP that is full of regret, hope, and uncertainty.
Oceanator is the solo venture of Brooklyn-native Elise Okusami, and its clear to see that she really runs a tight operation. The production of each song is masterfully crafted to have that perfect sense of reflection while still full of drive. The punchy stabs of 'Mistakes' add to the elevating sentiment of "I can finally see you are nothing to me," cymbals crashing and guitars roaring as if to build the courage to be able to say those words. Opening track 'Coming Home' does a great job at establishing all these ideas the EP has, the great melodies and drive of the song giving power to Oceanator's somber lyrics: "You're an ocean away, and that's the way it's supposed to be, but still I'm coming home."
For a short EP, Lows is explosive. The idea that Lows is nothing more than just an indie heartbreak record is quickly smashed as the album roars to life from track one. Some songs are deceptive in their structure, the punchy bass and 80s synth that introduces 'Not Around' not preparing you for the huge bridge that hits you after the bluesy, Alabama Shakes inspired body of the song. 'Tell Me' has an all around intense instrumental, building from something more innocent to something that rages with life. Closing track 'Inhuman' ties the album together perfectly, its gentle guitar intro building into something monstrous, the chorus that sings "You just take everything / And you just break everything that you wanted / I was something you wanted" dejectedly recalling an abusive relationship to bring the album out on a powerful, broken but optimistic note, Okusami letting out all her internal pain the relationship brought.
Oceanator tells a painful and dynamic story in Lows, telling a heartbreak story where every part of the music works to empower the meaning. It's not often you come across something so focussed yet uncertain of its own feelings, and that makes Lows all the more powerful. It searches for the answers, and even when it thinks it's just found them, things turn on its head. It's not cyclical, just as it is in real life.
Favorite Tracks: Inhuman, Coming Home
Least Favorite Track: Mistakes
Rating: 81 / 100
Stream or buy Lows on Apple Music, and follow our 2018 Playlist on Spotify: