The Ocean Floor Tall Tales and Small Tales

[Swim Slowly; 2007]

Rating: 2.5/5

Styles: breezy jazz, chamber pop, indie pop
Others: Belle & Sebastian, Architecture in Helsinki, Honeydogs, The Boy Least Likely To

On the heels of listening to Tall Tales and Small Tales, I could hardly believe the album was about to end so quickly. Somehow, 53 minutes rushed right by, as the album effortlessly flowed from track to track. That should be a ringing endorsement of The Ocean Floor's ability to make an album of cohesive and complimentary music, but I must stop those of you ready to pin a rose to a band that's apparent strength lies primarily in cohesion. If The Ocean Floor were in the business of making glue, nothing would hold longer or be more adhesive, but this is music, and albums with this much flow can come wrought with problems. So, what could be the problem posed among Tall Tales and Small Tales' playful orchestration? Little musical change. The biggest reason the album fails, in spite of being a pillar of uniformity, is that, when all is said and done, the album is a pillar of uniformity. Aside from the white-boy rapper interlude of "Pillows & Molasses," Tall Tales and Small Tales reads like the back of a familiar hand. After a few tracks, the ability to call out key changes, predict tempo shifts, and cue banjo melodies with Nostradamus-like accuracy might be exciting at first, but it eventually loses its appeal by the middle of the album. Unfortunately, it's easy to pick on The Ocean Floor for falling into the trappings of indie-pop conformity, and though the music is fun and poppy, Tall Tales and Small Tales just can't shake off the pristine white uniform and let their hair down.

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