Being stuck in a forest for weeks upon weeks with no worldly food, no tap water from a dirty river and no real shelter. Eating plants and insects, drinking the creek water so I don’t get dehydrated and sleeping underneath fallen trees so that the rain doesn’t soak me. Ocoai’s sophomore release “The Electric Hand” sets these kind of images into your mind with no problem at all. After they released their debut record “Breatherman” back in 2008, I was nothing but ecstatic to hear a brand new thriller from these guys. Progressive/sludge/post-metal/rock with a tear drop of orgasmic color, that is what Ocoai plays and it’s all instrumental. In my eyes, nothing is better than an instrumental record, nothing! Hailing from Tennessee, let’s see what these guys have to offer. Let’s see if they can take you to unknown lands that bring nothing but beautiuful waterfalls and bright green grass.
Flowing as beautiful as the ocean on a cool summer day, “The Electric Hand” presents itself in a way that most records can’t. Feeding you limbs of progressive with the melodic sections but also giving you that sludge with those deep, dirty, filthy bass lines like on the tracks “Grimpeur” and “Marchand de Sommeil”. Taking influences from Isis, Neurosis and Pelican, Ocoai seem to have found the parts to replace what they did wrong on their first record. Providing a very large canvas for you to paint almost anything on, even something so large it can scream volumes, Ocoai has finally seem to find out the way it’s done and what they love doing. As the trees blow in the wind, you can lay on a beach while staring up at the sun wondering if tomorrow will ever have the same feeling as today did. “The Electric Hand”, seems to lay out short stories for each track. “Niveus Hills” paints a picture of desperation, heartache and an uncontrollable living situations where nothing ever goes the way the people want it to. Being trapped in a room with flashing lights surrounding the outside while you hear screams and yells simply begging to be let in before they get destroyed by whatever creature is out there.
The more and more I think about it, I seem to be making the connection to the video game Alan Wake. I have no idea why but the atmospheres this record creates and literally bring to life are very similar to the ones in the video game. Dark yet wonderful places with signs of hope and encouragement. “La Main d’Electrique”, the most uptempo and monstrous track on the record when it comes to Sludge influence. As the story seems to deepen, become more bothersome in a way, “La Main d’Electrique” gives you that sense of just raw teeth on a barbwire electric fence. The closest thing I can compare “The Electric Hand” to would have to be just a mixture of some old school biker that has the longest beard you’ve ever seen, being married to a Queen of some country. They may not look like the best couple but the relationship has blossomed since day one and they get along very, very well. Ocoai does the whole sludge/post-rock thing very well and if this record wasn’t the way it is, I can’t see myself even enjoying what it would of been.
If it’s possible to have emptiness yet still have hope inside your broken heart, “The Electic Hand” is probably the record for you. Mountains with snow filled tops, rivers with eagles flying over the top so they can prey on their lunch, it’s just imagery that Ocoai bring to the table and that’s exactly why I love this record, let along the band.