The Ocean Blue have been around quite a long time. Hailing from Hershey, Pennsylvania, the band were still high schoolers when they were signed to Sire Records in 1989 for a three album deal. Since the release of their self titled debut in 1989, the band have continued to record five more studio albums, three with Sire before leaving major labels in the mid nineties. The band consists of David Schelzel on lead vocals, Oed Ronne on keyboards and guitar, Bobby Mittan on bass and Peter Anderson on drums. The bands influences include The Smiths, New Order and Cocteau Twins. The bands British indie influences immediately jumped out to me at first listen. The Ocean Blue released Waterworks as an EP in 2004 through What Are Records? following somewhat of a quiet period in the band, where they didn’t play as many live shows and personal lives and responsibilities took over. On 9th Sepetember 2014, The Ocean Blue are re-releasing
Waterworks as an LP through Korda Records with the addition of three new tracks.
Original Waterworks EP track Pedestrian is an immediate triumph. The songs introduction is lush and beautiful and almost shoegaze-esque, perhaps a nod to their early dream-pop influences. The percussion stands out as well as a beautiful guitar riff that weaves through the song. The chorus is anthemic and catchy. David’s vocals and lyrics of “If you don’t come quickly, if you don’t come to” will surely we stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Pedestrian is a beautiful song that makes me wonder why I’ve never heard it before. Golden Gate is pure 60s folk pop bliss.
The lyrics are euphoric and the harmonies add a romantic tone to the song. The percussion and drums are almost like that on a Phil Spektor song. The Ocean Blue are a band who know how to write an infectious hook and chorus. Ticket To Wyoming is a jangly riff driven song with another infectious hook and romantic lyrics. The riffs and vocals hark back to The Smiths. Ticket To Wyoming is a tight indie pop song complete with a euphoric guitar solo. I’d love to hear this song live. Lyrically and musically the song works wonderfully. Morrissey haunts me again listening to the next track Sunshowers. The riff and vocal delivery is a love letter in itself to the best Smiths tracks. The Americana lilt in David’s accent quickly reminds you, you aren’t in Manchester. The song is another wonderful indie pop riff driven track.
Although I mention the songs eighties influences, the production and inherent individual edge retains a contemporary feel. Sunshowers is a highly enjoyable and even danceable track. The Northern Jetstream is a track again that brings me back to shoegaze and dream-pop. The harmonies are reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine but the jangly riff and eastern overtones are a hark back to sixties pop. The bass is groovy and guides the song along behind many layers.
The last three tracks of the album are expansions on the 2004 EP. Golden Girl flows seamlessly after the original tracks that made up Waterworks on it’s initial release. Golden Girl is a psychedelic dream pop song with ethereal vocals and romantic lyrics. The track is led along with a jangling guitar riff and echoing production. Can’t Let Go is the next new track the band are showcasing. The song stomps on with more flawless percussion and layered production. Can’t Let Go is another addition that fits in perfectly with a strong melody and hook and catchy riff. Stylistically the song packs a punch in comparison to the previous and is just as strong. Take A Broken Heart is the final track on Waterworks. The song is a mournful and melancholic indie pop track which is led along with more acoustic guitars and romantic lyrics. The Ocean Blue have successfully expanded on an already stellar release with these new tracks which manage to flow seamlessly ten years after the EP’s initial release. The newly revamped Waterworks is well worth a listen and is a release I would highly recommend.
Live And Die In Music interviewed the band last month. You can read the article here. The Waterworks LP will be released on the 9th September off Korda Records.