Northwest Florida natives The Ocean As Mistress (Matt Ketter - drums, Joel Pelegrina - bass, Etienne Blue Lambert - vocals, guitar, keyboard) formed in 2002 with a style similar to bands like Sunny Day Real Estate, Death Cab For Cutie, Mineral, and The Promise Ring. Their debut album, IN RUINS was produced by Jeremy Dubois who had recorded and produced one of Dashboard Confessional's releases for Vagrant Records. This album resulted in two US tours, two music videos, and licensing their songs to the Discovery Channel, The Travel Channel and Nat Geo Wild. They have shared the stage with Cracker, Rainer Maria, Owen, and Two Thirty-Eight. Before all of this success, OCEAN spent a long time being a bands' band, meaning that, aside from close friends and family, most of the encouragement and feedback they received in the local scene was from touring bands they opened up for and a few local bands they have performed with.
Debut albums like IN RUINS are few and far between. Imagine TRANSATLANTICISM being Death Cab's debut album and you will get the drift. In most cases the lead guitar in the band is Pelegrina's bass with its dynamic, melodic contrasts to Lambert's more rhythmic, textural guitar parts. Lambert's lyrics and vocals have a more figurative, introspective, and abstract presence that take place within the context of the songs' textures instead of straight up defining the songs' meaning. Think of the vocals / lyrics as a fourth instrument that equally participates in the performance - they are not meant to stand out "in front" of the group and Jeremy Dubois captures this perfectly.
Between the 1st and 2nd albums, OCEAN lost it's first drummer Sean Lopez and hired longtime friend and former bandmate Matt Ketter to play the drums.
Their 2nd album, INSULATION RESISTANCE TEST RECORD was made at Electrical Audio in Chicago with Steve Albini. The band wanted to continue the tradition they started with IN RUINS of tracking to analog tape and Electrical Audio is one of the few studios that could manage this task without a Pro Tools rig. It was a chance for the band to show-off the skills that they bring to a live performance and make an album that clearly reflects the style of the band. The result was another masterpiece by a band that spends years honing the songs that end-up on their records.
Fans have compared OCEAN to bands like Radiohead, Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse, Coldplay, Mineral, Red House Painters, American Football, Saves the Day, The All-American Rejects, Yo La Tengo, The Promise Ring, Sunny Day Real Estate, The Notwist, The Sundays, and Rainer Maria. The fact is that this is one of the few surviving bands from the late-90's post-punk / emo scene that hasn't disappeared and that continues to make the music that so many fans lost when most of the bands from that era like At The Drive-In, The Promise Ring, Braid, and Mineral disappeared. Like Death Cab For Cutie, this band is a continuation of that period that deserves to be appreciated.