Another GigRadar first today as we introduce you to a band named after a Star Wars reference, in Blackpool’s Oceans Over Alderaan – a fictional planet in the popular sci-fi movies. The band fuse atmospheric rock and shoegaze with doom-pop, math and post-rock, which they summarise as “pretentious arty nonsense.”
But let’s start with that name. As guitarist Barry Parkinson explains: “Yeah, Oceans Over Planetary Destruction was too long a name so we went with Alderaan as it sounded nice. I thought Alderaan was an actual star but the real life star is called Alderbaran – which is what we will probably have to change our name to if Lucasfilm start throwing lawyers at us.”
It’s safe to say that Oceans Over Alderaan is the result of a long evolution. This is the sixth band that Barry and bassist Steve Trenell have been in, and, along with drummer Joe Wylie, initially started out as an instrumental band – mainly, as Barry says, “finding a singer who fit our sound was impossible.” But they soon found lead singer Alice Deacon through a paid Facebook advert and “decided she was perfect from the first practice.”
They’ve since launched debut single Sevenfour last month, which offers an intriguing insight into their delicious sound. It opens up with a big wall of guitars that drop into laid-back guitars and light drums then Alice’s high-pitched vocals in an atmospheric opening verse. The guitars increase in intensity then drop into a dreamy section of light drawn-out guitars and vocals. But it goes out with a blast as stabbing guitars support Alice’s vocals then intensify into big guitar chords in a rocky ending. Check it out below:
Speaking ahead of the launch, Barry told us: “Sort of excited and nervous, we spent ages on it – just writing it took a long time. We went to Tom Peters Production to record it as we knew he would do a great job (and he did). We know Tom as our old band Goonies Never Say Die played with his band Alpha Male Tea Party and we love the AMTP stuff so knew Tom would get the best sound out of us.
“The song is a bit of a mini journey. It ends in a different place from where it begins – that style of musical songwriting, more progressive, was the biggest influence we brought over from our post-rock roots in our previous band. It’s been merged with a more accessible melody and wonderful giant vocals that really lift the whole thing. I’m personally very proud of it and I know everyone else is. Expect to be moved and a little aroused.”
On their rather eclectic sound, Barry explains: “I kind of describe it as a more post-rock/shoegaze version of The Cure and The Cocteau Twins, but I don’t think that description works. There’s too many influences going on, it’s sort of classic atmospheric mood music but with some odd time signatures and non-standard structures. We actually got a nice complimentary message from Simon of the Cocteau Twins this morning which lifted our spirits no end.”
And when it comes to what inspires them to write, Alice tells us: “I don’t usually sit down and say ‘oh I’m going to write a song specifically about this topic,’ a certain phrase may stick in my head, then you can construct the rest of the song around it. This may change several times depending on whether I feel that the subject is concrete. For example, I re-wrote Falters lyrics several times before I felt what I wanted to communicate was well represented in the song, on the other hand, There’s Always Another Summer was written within an hour. I don’t think we write to try to sound like someone else, which is why I struggle when people ask what type of music we play.”
And Barry adds: “Personally from my part in the song writing I can’t write when I’m happy, it’s something I do when I’m dealing with depression or anxiety. As a group we do like to explore the most difficult way to arrange a song and throw in awkward timings a lot.”
The band hope to use the release of Sevenfour as a way to get some gigs outside of Lancashire. They’ll be following it up with second single Falters in the Spring before heading back into the studio to record more songs.
While Barry adds: “We are fairly boring to be honest, not very rock’n’roll. As cliched as it sounds I just want people to appreciate what we create more than what we do or the people we are. What we make as a whole and the music we leave in this world is the only thing I care about.”