I've been a big fan of OceanLab's work, but apparently not a big enough one, because I never knew they had an album out until it was released already. I immediately placed an order for it, and decided to grab Conjure One's self-entitled album as well since it was available.
Conjure One has a pretty cover, and the inside booklet has a beautiful panorama in it, with all the track info above and below it. Really well done artwork. However, Sirens of the Sea is in a class of its own. I was really happy that I got a digipak copy. From the cover, which is my favourite in my collection, to the inside of the digipak, to the booklet itself, is filled with lovely photos.
Unfortunately, the album itself wasn't as good as I’d hoped. My favourite songs had been Sirens of the Sea, Satellite and Beautiful Together. Of those 3, only Sirens of the Sea appears on the album, and the album version is nowhere as great as both the Above & Beyond and Kyau & Albert remixes.
The album starts of with Just Listen, which isn't too bad, and Justine Suissa's voice is still as beautiful as ever. Next is Sirens of the Sea, followed by If I Could Fly. If I Could Fly just didn't feel like OceanLab to me, and was pretty much the tone of the entire album. Breaking Ties, Miracle, Ashes and Secret was more of the direction I enjoyed more of their work, compared to Come Home and Lonely Girl.
I enjoy the album, but I still feel it could have been much better, and I still find myself skipping a lot of songs.
Next is Conjure One, which starts off with Damascus, featuring Chemda on vocals. The song comes across as very lonely and desolate, with a painful sadness in her tone. It's a beautiful build-up to the album, which goes on to Center of the Sun next, which is one of the best songs on the album. Featuring Poe (Ann Danielewski) on vocals, Center of the Sun also has the tragic yet still beautiful sound of Damascus (and Manic Star later). CotS is the kind of song you have to listen to loud, with proper speakers or headphones, so you can hear every little sound, and hear every nuance in her voice. The song builds up to the climax, which feels almost ethereal and haunting, and then slowly unwinds to the next song.
Tears from the Moon, featuring Sinéad O'Connor, is another great track on the album, however the lyrics feel a bit too repetitive, and the song drags on a bit too much.
Next up is Tidal Pool which leads into Manic Star. Tidal Pool feels like a long build up, and you can almost see the sparkling, glittering and shimmering lights on the water, with Chemda's almost eerie chanting in the background. Next up is Manic Star, featuring Marie-Claire D'Ubaldo, which is my favourite track on the album, and my favourite track from Conjure One. It starts off with Chemda's chanting, then fades up into Manic Star's beautifully sad backing track. Marie-Claire has a beautiful voice, which sounds as if she'll break into tears at any moment, without sounding fragile, and coupled and balanced with the equally beautiful instrumentals, makes for an amazing song. The only thing I could come close to finding fault with was the lyrics, compared to the other tracks. Still, her voice and the instrumentals easily carry the song.
The next 5 songs are all good, but they're just completely overshadowed by the first 5. The album ends on Premonition (Reprise), which is the instrumental version of Manic Star. Again, a beautiful, serene build up into a sad, almost mourning melody, which slowly and patiently fades out, giving Conjure One one of the best closing tracks on an album.