British Theatre - Mastery (2016)



  1. Blue Horror
  2. The Cull
  3. Dinosaur
  4. The Coldest of Shoulders
  5. Capra
  6. Newman
  7. Cross the Swords
  8. Gold Bruise
  9. Thunderlips
  10. Favour the Brave
  11. Mastery

Introducing British Theatre inevitably needs to mention Oceansize. A band that left a huge gap after their disbaning in 2011. A band that had a fanatic following and deserved it. Their unusual mixture of punchy Post-Rock and complex rhythms was not only unique, it was brilliant. Their debut album Effloresque is a total classic that needs to be known by far more music enthusiasts. (Side note: Oceansize guitarist Steve Durose later joined Amplifier, a perfect fit)

Anyway. 2011. That was it. Four albums and a couple of EPs was all we ever got to hear from Oceansize. Or wasn't it?

Before Oceansize split, Mike Vennart established a side project with Richard "Gambler" Ingram called British Theatre, which after his main band finally waved good-bye, released two EPs that showcased two worlds clashing: The guitar driven elements of Oceansize and the chilling nature of electronic ambient. But once again those seemed to be all we got to hear from the band.

In 2015 Vennart released his first solo album (featuring members of Oceansize) which basically continued his former bands path but added quite some Pop appeal to what essentially was a Progressive Rock album. It seemed British Theatre was never to be heard of again, just like its originating band.

Fast forward another year. Financed via Pledgemusic (just like his solo album) the first proper British Theatre album was born. And let's get this straight: This is all Oceansize fans could have asked for, while at the same time this will be seen as an abnormination by many.

From the very first note, this album sounds like its Mothership, the vocal melodies, the harmonies, the rhythms. When Blue Horror starts playing one feels right at home. But yet there is something... different. It's not even obvious at first, but latest with second track The Cull it becomes obvious: This is not a Rock album at all. Gone are the guitars, gone are the drums. The band instead uses pure electronics to archive a very similar sound to what made Oceansize so special. Instead of drums there are programmed beats, Synths play the role of guitars and bass and only the vocals are as organic as ever. And yet this thing works. And despite all missing elements this even works as the true successor to what fans thought to be lost forever.

Highlights definately include the formidable Blue Horror as well as The Cull or the light Capra, which serves well as a moment of peace on a mostly quite dark album. Songs like Newman on the other hand show the new found love for electronics and take a step back from the Rock-inspired sound, incorperating more straight up Electronic elements than most of the other tracks. Still Vennarts Voice and sense for melody holds it all together and manages to never lose touch with his past as a member of one of the great ones.

So while the world got a bit darker in 2011 the future looks bright indeed, even though the medium has changed a bit.



Bandcamp (Which also has their older EPs)

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