Since the project’s inception, The End Of The Ocean have been the subject of great expectations. Upon the release of their 2011 full-length debut, Pacific-Atlantic, the Columbus, Ohio band was immediately christened a torch-bearer in the second wave of American post-rock. They managed to live up to predecessors such as Explosions In The Sky, This Will Destroy You, Caspian and Red Sparrows with Pacific-Atlantic and their 2012 EP In Excelsis. The acclaim for those releases resulted in almost 20 million streams on Spotify and allowed the band to take their dynamic live performances on the road. It’s safe to say that all signs pointed towards a long and successful career for The End Of The Ocean.
Then, as often happens with promising bands, things fell apart.
While the band continued to tour, a myriad of real-life problems were causing a rift in the band that, at times, felt insurmountable. As a result, any thoughts of writing new music came to a halt. When you’re facing such daunting issues as mental illness, the sickness of close family members and inner turmoil within the band, it is hard to prioritize writing – especially when doing so comes attached to the pressure of living up to the accolades The End Of The Ocean garnered for their first two releases.
When -aire is released in January of 2019, it will have been over seven years since The End Of The Ocean last released new music. With so much going on in their personal lives, Tara Mayer (keys) says that they needed to “give ourselves a chance to hurt so that we could have the chance to heal” before even thinking about another release. The past few years forced the band to come to terms with their own humanity and mortality, as well as that of their bandmates and friends. In the end, the writing and recording processes for -aire ended up being a big part of their healing process and forged a bond that is stronger than ever between the five members of The End Of The Ocean.
This fortified bond within the band allowed for a vulnerability in the writing room that led to a bold new direction on -aire. The band learned that only when a writer is comfortable enough with their collaborators to take real chances will genuine experimentation take place. This level of camaraderie encouraged guitarist, Trish Chrisholm, to take on a bigger role in the writing process – something she had never done before despite her technical prowess and having played in bands since she was ten-years-old. The End Of The Ocean have always been rebellious, even credited with bringing a punk rock mentality to post-rock, but it wasn’t until they started writing for -aire that they felt confident enough to really pursue the more challenging aspects of how they envisioned the project. -aire maintains the cinematic beauty of their previous releases while incorporating the louder, raw elements that make their live shows so emotionally charged. In producer, Mike Watts (Hopesfall, The Dear Hunter, Covet) they found a champion of their vision and someone who could help translate it in the studio. The resulting record is a continuation of what made their past releases so special but in an angrier and more mature format – raw and cathartic but still hopeful and beautiful.
The End Of The Ocean have always been drawn to the imagery of shipmates journeying through the ocean together. “The idea of weathering the same storms and waves of life with a close-knit crew of people seemed to capture the experiences and emotions we’ve share in life as friends”. With everything the band has endured over the past seven years, that imagery has never been more relevant. -aire is a testament to the band’s individual strength and talent and how close they are as friends. The emotional ebbs and flows of the record are akin to a ship’s crew working together to navigate a violent ocean tide. It is the sum of six years of frustration and anger stemming from the events that kept the band apart and proudly translates the message “we only get one chance to do this, so let’s do it together”. As the band puts it, their musical career is comparable to Apollo 13 in that “it’s easier to go around the moon and keep going than to turn back. Even if we’re all doomed”.
-aire will be released in January of 2019 on Equal Vision Records. It balances rich, thoughtful melodic passages, high-energy riff-wielding and truly epic climatic outpourings. The band has always been championed for their maelstrom of nostalgia, hope, beauty, melancholy, chaos and tranquility. Fans will experience a bigger, bolder version of that tempest with it’s release.