Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Ocean Colour Scene - Ocean Colour Scene (1992)


  

Released on 8 September 1992

Running time 47.05

This was Ocean Colour Scene's debut album and one which found them not quite knowing what they wanted to be - a trippy, "Madchester"-influenced contemporary band, or a retrospective pysch-pop outfit with a few soul hints here and there. For that reason, it never really caught the public's attention, and the group seemingly went into cold storage for four years, until Paul Weller/Noel Gallagher resurrected them and they recorded the successful "Moseley Shoals" album.

The group were always one to showcase their influences, but they also had a fair amount of creative innovation and originality, which makes this an interesting and beguiling album worthy of a listen.

TRACK LISTING

1. Talk On
2. How About You
3. Giving It All Away 
4. Justine
5. Do Yourself A Favour
6. Third Shade Of Green
7. Sway
8. Penny Pinching Rainy Heaven Days
9. One Of Those Days
10. Is She Coming Home
11. Blue Deep Ocean
12. Reprise                                                              

"Talk On" is a very Small Faces-influenced number, updated with some bassy, substantial early nineties backing. "How About You" also taps in to a vague late sixties vibe with a bit of psychedelic hippiness about it. "Giving It All Away" is a rhythmic, infectious song, with another sixties-style vocal, with Stones airs. The drum sound is captivating, full of lusty punch. The lyrics are once more very sixties, psychedelia influenced. It has some excellent guitar/drum interplay near the end, with some floaty hippy backing vocals.


"Justine" changes the pace with a very mid-sixties Rolling Stones-ish plaintive, lightly orchestrated acoustic ballad. Some pulsating wah-wah guitar introduces the robust "Do Yourself A Favour". This is really good stuff, quite unusual for the time - contemporary yet retrospective. This was something quite difficult to achieve. I am surprised by just how good this track is. Check out that congas/bass interplay. It is a cover of a Stevie Wonder song from his 1971 "Where I'm Coming From" album.

"Third Shade Of Green" is a very late sixties psychedelic rock-style number, full of feedback-ish Hendrix guitar and reverb-drenched druggy vocals. It is one of the heaviest tracks the group ever did. "Sway" is driven along by a shuffling drum rhythm and some funky guitar. This is actually quite an inventive, original-sounding number. There are hints of U2 in there too. "Penny Pinching Rainy Heaven Days" is so sixties it could well be wearing a Paisley shirt. It is good, though, with a great bass line and staccato drum sound. Weird backing vocals, though.

"One Of Those Days" is full of swirling, psychedelic guitars, intoxicating bass and odd sound effects. "Is She Coming Home" is another trippy one, with more circulating guitar and Ringo Starr drum rolls. "Blue Deep Ocean" ploughs the same furrow, with some Lennon-esque vocals and a bit of funky U2-ish guitar on there too. A bit of that old sixties Eastern thing as well. The drum sound is similar to the one often used by The Happy Mondays and Black Grape, that sort of thumping dance sound.

As I said, it is an interesting album, but a bit of an odd one. The band themselves have apparently pretty much disowned it over the years.

B-

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