Croak: Ocean Without a Shore

This August, Bellingham teenage Screamo-Hardcore outfit Croak released the EP Ocean Without a Shore. Consisting of five songs, the EP is best characterized as a healthy mix of Converge, Far, and Say Hello to Sunshine-era Finch. From the distorted, Jacob Bannon-esque vocals to the feedback-laden guitars, this EP is 16 or so minutes of attack.

In its best moments, the songs on Ocean Without a Shore would fit perfectly on a compilation of Jane Doe era Converge B-sides – with its frantic guitar work and chaotic drums, the EP flashes hints of great songwriting potential. The schizophrenic overlaid vocals at the end of “Snuff Film” (track 3) are fantastic, as is the Pixies-like transition between the intro and the first verse. Croak has a great feel for clean to distorted stop/start transitions, giving their music a certain intensity that has got to make their live show an eye-opening experience.

But, while these songs would undoubtedly translate well to a live setting, this EP falls short due primarily to the poor recording, mixing and mastering. Screamo-Hardcore records do benefit from a more raw/imperfect sound, but the mix on this EP is extremely distracting. From the shallow sounding drums, to the imbalance of the guitar (way too low) and bass (way too high), this EP doesn’t feel like an accurate representation of the band’s music. Still, Ocean Without a Shore can be characterized as a successful release because it illustrates the band’s potential.

Make sure to keep your eyes/ears open for Croak’s next release, as it will be interesting/exciting to see how they are able to progress from this point forward, and don’t sleep on it the next time you have the opportunity to see them live.

-Hayden Eller

Published in the October 2015 issue of What’s Up! Magazine