Floating Worlds, a five piece from Athens, Greece, based the theme of their third studio album ‘Battleship Oceania’ around the exploits of a prized naval battleship. Exploring the ugliness of war, corruption and the negativity propagated by the media, there was some real promise for a rather profound, interesting listening experience. However, upon listening to the album, I was a little confused by the mood of the music, especially given the lyrical themes. The album also seemed a little repetitive, with songs sounding rather one dimensional and just “middle of the road.”
To put it simply, the album isn’t bad. The musicianship is good, with some fantastic talent on display from all members. The mix isn’t too bad, however the kick drum is far too present, and drowns out the rest of the band, but it really isn’t that significant of a problem. The main issue overall is the songwriting. It’s not incompetent, but it’s just bland. Many of the songs follow a very similar structure, with little variation to the flow of the music. There is some “up and down” dynamic motion, with some instrumental sections to break songs up, but they don’t feel as if they build up to anything really spectacular. Often, it seems like the song structure just goes “verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, solo, chorus/verse again,” maybe with slight variation.
And then there’s the overall mood of the music. It just does not sound anything like one would expect when the whole crux of the album concept is a hulking death machine of the seas. Many songs sound almost whimsical in tone, which sounds extremely out of touch with the title. For example, the song The Empire of the Media almost sounds like a ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ number. Not necessarily bad, but the mood just doesn’t fit the topic.
Despite this, there are some parts I liked throughout the album that were able to shine through, even if they were sparse. There are some keyboard sections with some interesting synth sounds that, if expanded upon, could have made for a really interesting, gritty song, such as in the song Game of Thrones. Sadly, this sound was only for a fleeting moment, and is never heard again. I would have really liked to have that fleshed out more. I also really liked the use of the male choir in the song The Last Goodbye, accompanied with some really sombre guitar work and orchestration that made most of the song very effective, both tonally and mood wise. Sadly that mood was broken by what I felt was a strangely awkward chanting at the end of the song, but I liked the rest of it. But, by an astronomical mile, my favourite track was the final track Island of Dreams, which was an instrumental. There’s some great atmospheric guitar work with some fantastic note choice, conveying this feeling of wonder and anticipation. This is elaborated on with the introduction of this ominously majestic synth, and some woody percussion to really make everything pop. It builds into an anticipatory climax, the guitars, synths and percussion all coming to a head to break into this lush, warm, bright and bubbly arrangement that is an absolute pleasure to listen to. The structure of the song, the choices of sounds, the mood, it’s all on point. It’s strange, because it just feels so far removed from the rest of the album.
‘Battleship Oceania’ is a strange album for me. In some aspects, I found it reasonably bland. Not bad, but just right in the middle of the road. There are some bright sparks of greatness here and there, but nothing spectacular. The mood in many places feels off from the topics explored on the album, and musically may have worked better as stand alone songs, rather than an interconnected story across an album. However, the last instrumental track of the album really shows that the musicians of this band are absolutely capable of making some really captivating and inspired music. An album filled with more songs like that would be absolutely heavenly.
GET YOUR HANDS ON FLOATING WORLDS’ ‘BATTLESHIP OCEANIA’ FROM SEASON OF MIST HERE!