by Sam Robinson
Brooklyn band Young Oceans have released their second album, an atmospheric delight named I Must Find You. Like me, you may never have come across this band before but let me tell you, this is an album of joyful praise that I encourage you to stop and take notice of.
The band, led by singer-songwriter Eric Marshall describe themselves as “neo-alternative” although I feel like that description doesn’t do this album justice. Based at Trinity Grace Church in New York City, Young Oceans released their debut self-titled album in 2012 and have since released an instrumental album and an EP. This new album, I Must Find You, is packed with indie worship tracks, not too distant from the likes of Loud Harp or Seeker & Servant, but with an undoubtedly much bigger, atmospheric sound.
A Rising Fire sets the scene for the record with lush, electronic soundscapes filled with reverb and distortion. It’s a moody but bright track, showing the focus of the album: ‘Oh to you I lift my eyes. You alone are my desire.’ What I love about this song (and much of the album) is that although this song could easily soar, the band show a level of restraint.
How Cold It Is is a cool arrangement that builds. Lead Me is one of the highlights of the album with contrasting soft vocals and piano with a very raucous distorted guitar. The lyrics match the calmness and despair: ‘Father pull me from the deep.’
Only You is a bouncy number with rhythmic pop synths and a strong beat. It’s a song of adoration that paints vivid pictures focussed on God’s supremacy and rule in our world:
‘Only you have set the earth on its foundation.
Only you give orders to the dawn.
Only you can know the depths of every ocean.
Only you deserve our song.’
Title track I Must Find You is a slow burn across the space of eight minutes. There’s so many layers of instrumentation on this one but the mix is sublime. Vidi Aquam is a reworked traditional chant that is rather haunting in sound. The words focus on the washing we get in Christ: ‘All those who drink are saved.’
As I Must Find You draws to a close, there are a few highlights. Until These Tears Are Gone surprises with a drum machine foundation. The song gazes brightly towards eternity and the day when Jesus returns to put an end to sin, suffering, and pain: ‘How long, how long until these tears are gone?’
Praise the Lord Ye Heavens is set in motion by an infectious groove and may well become a widely-used congregational track: ‘We will sing of your goodness and mercy all of our days’
The takeaway message I get from I Must Find You is that we are feeble and helpless in front of our glorious God. But he loves us, cares for us, and wants us to fix our eyes on him and bow down before him in praise. Young Oceans have crafted a superb album that indie music lovers will adore. I’m giving it four-and-a-quarter stars out of five.
I Must Find You by Young Oceans is available now on iTunes.