Album Review :
The Frozen Ocean - In Exile

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Band: The Frozen Ocean

Title: In Exile

Label: Come&Live!

Release Date: Nov. 30, 2010

Review By: Scott L


  1. Caught In The Air
  2. Empty Seed
  3. Phantoms
  4. Drawing Circles In The Sand
  5. In The Garden
  6. In Flight
  7. Promised Land

Sometimes it seems like the hardest part of writing a review is coming up with a new way of saying the same old thing. Reviewing music is usually pretty black and white. You like it or you don’t. You recommend it or you don’t. But you just can’t post a six word review even if “yeah, you probably oughta buy it” really does sum up how you feel. So I’ll do my best to coax a little more information out of myself and paint a little broader picture of this 7-song EP that, in essence, yeah, you probably oughta buy.

The Frozen Ocean is more of a project than a band. At least that’s the way I see solo artists that put out albums full of guest musicians. This particular project is fronted by David Swanson (ex-Life In Your Way) along with such guest musicians as Matt Greiner (August Burns Red) and Andy Nelson (Wrench In The Works). Now before you start drooling pools on your keyboard at the potential heaviness factor, let me say that The Frozen Ocean is a largely acoustic indie-folk project. No blast beats. No screaming. No chugga-chugga. Just lots of melancholy. But that’s not a bad thing. While completely different from the self-titled ambient electronica album released in 2008, this CD can actually be a fairly captivating CD at times. Not necessarily bursting with originality, it is creative and enjoyable. There’s even a little keys and some sampling thrown in there for variety although they’re kept to a minimum. Good comparisons would be early Bebo Norman or more recently, Great Lake Swimmers.

Lyrically, The Frozen Ocean sways between introspection and observation. Either issues of the heart or the drive of wonder and curiosity. Usually the latter. Consider the song “Drawing Circles In The Sand” which says, “you were born on the open sea / grew up in the shade of titans / carved your name in the trunk of a tree / you traveled to the end of the world / just to draw a circle in the sand / left your wife and your kids behind / but you’re not coming home / I have known all my life / would come to this / all I have to give has long ago been given / like sand through your hands / is the life of a man”. On occasion, the lyrics step out of the norm and delve into the spiritual side of things, such as in the song “In The Garden”, which says, “if there is any other way / could you take this cup from me / because I know that I can’t stay / from my family I’ve been estranged / where are you when I know that my time is up / will you be there when I’ve fallen asleep / taken in like a child into the arms of his Father”.

The standout track was hands-down the album’s closing song “Promised Land”. It’s a phenomenal alt-folk tune about Heaven that carries an almost Irish vibe. The song is so awesome in fact that in single-handedly makes a good album great.

Overall: While folk isn’t typically my thing, I have to say that I really enjoyed most of this release. From the instrumental opening song to the powerful, leave nothing left in the tank finale, The Frozen Ocean does just about everything right. So if you’re into the crooning and steel strings of acoustic indie-folk… with some exceptional drumming, “In Exile” should be just what you’re looking for.