HomeMusicBray Releases “Oceanography”

Bray Releases “Oceanography”

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San Francisco’s Bray has carved out a growing renown as one of the best indie songwriters working today thanks to his output with The Dens. His impressive streak continues with the new single “Oceanography”, a near ideal presentation of his strengths that furthermore shows, for those familiar with his output, consistent advancement. It is not a paradigm shifting recording for Bray, but it nonetheless shows how this capable musical artist continues reinventing his craft with each new foray and resists easy categorization. His influences are readily apparent, but it’s interesting to hear how he subsumes them into something unique without ever sacrificing the spirit of what brought him here. “Oceanography” owes a lot to Bray’s roots, yes, but he stamps every second with an undeniable personal touch.

It’s the first single from his forthcoming new album and, judging by its quality, we’re in for a treat when the full release drops. 2024 is young so far, but the year may end without hearing a single as fully realized as “Oceanography”. United by an overall sea metaphor, Bray is careful as a lyricist to not let his linguistic flair become too overwrought. At its heart, this is a love song, and the comparison he draws between the object of his affection and the ocean will leave you dazzled and more than a little enchanted.

It all hinges on a winning chorus and a surprising tempo change. The former is the unquestionable high point of the song where Bray unites all of the emotion laden throughout the verses and the latter provides joyful impetus to the song once it takes over. The shift, when it comes, never strikes you as bumpy or abrupt – it’s smooth and his strong, colorful voice has no trouble keeping up as it takes flight.

There’s a generous amount of guitar present in the track as well. It has an orchestral tilt, however, rather than any misplaced six-string heroics. Color, once again, is abundant throughout the song. It isn’t difficult to imagine “Oceanography” in hues of blue, and green, and the clarity present at every turn of the track makes for a welcoming musical experience. We feel at home with this song and its sentiments.

Yet we can’t help but note the presiding intelligence driving the song. Bray and his collaborators do an excellent job arranging the track for maximum effect and the lyrics are a far cut above your everyday pop song words. It never overstays its welcome either. It comes off as a piece that Bray had a clear conception of from the beginning and his certainty never wavered during the recording process.

“Oceanography” will impress all but the most cynical of listeners. Even music admirers who disdain alt or synth pop will have to concede that this is a rewarding listen that rises above the typical pop song. It’s a powerful reminder if you need one, of the true capabilities of pop music in the hands of a genuine musical artist. It is worth seeking out today. 

Heather Savage

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