September 10, 2004

Ocean Blue "Waterworks"

In the early 1990s, I fell in love with The Ocean Blue. To be more specific, I fell in love with their album Beneath the Rhythm And Sound. It was a collection of pretty, sophisticated jangle-pop, containing songs that were downright perfect. Their previous albums, The Ocean Blue and Cerulean were pretty good, but they were nowhere near as great as their third record. I used to listen to it incessantly. Their follow-up record was a bit disappointing, though when they returned with Davy Jones' Locker, I was most impressed. That they never received their fair share broke my heart.

It's 2004, and once again this really great band has been forced to self-release their newest record, Waterworks. What makes this development frustrating is that once again they've made a great record which will probably go unheard and underappreciated. It doesn't seem right. Then again, they've never received the respect they deserve, so this sad fact isn't one that bothers me too much--they've been too good for too long, and the fact that they even still exist is enough of a reason to get excited. Better to have an obscure record than to have nothing, right?

The six songs on Waterworks prove that the band has definitely entered a new phase of greatness, though. Bookended by two instrumentals, the beautiful "Fast Forward Reverse" and the lovely "The Northern Jetstream," the record has a creamy pop center. It's good to know that David Schetzel and Oed Ronne haven't lost their popsong skills, too--and it's also good to see that they've picked up the much-loved Allen Clapp to help them out as well! The rest of the record is awash in the jangle-pop that they've always done best, though the record seems a bit more downbeat than normal. "Golden Gate" is a lush little ballad; "Sunshower" is a fast little rocker that makes me smile. Though "Pedestrian" didn't register at first, it's a song that grows with you on subsequent listens. I'm most fond of "Ticket to Wyoming," which reminds me of Between the Rhythm and Sound's best moments.

This is a great little record from a really great band that should be highly regarded by all indie-pop lovers. That they're still around in 2004 gives me a great deal of hope, renewing my faith that really good bands can and will find a way to exist. Does this mean that they'll have a new full length out soon? God, I hope so. You should hope so, too.

--Joseph Kyle

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