THE OCEAN BLUE – Ultramarine

Album: Ultramarine

Artist: Ocean Blue

Label: Korda

Release Date: March 19, 2013



 So here’s another band, decades removed from its prime, tossing a new LP into the 2013 ring. While this isn’t its first in twenty years, and The Ocean Blue could never claim the same devoted throng of foaming fans, there are important similarities between Ultramarine and My Bloody Valentine’s latest. The passage of time has been favorable to both. Pioneers in their own right, and still true to their respective artistic visions, these sounds fit in nicely with the retro-tinged elements of independent music cranked out by kids who grew up with MBV’s Loveless and TOB’s Cerulean. At first glance, much of Ultramarine nestles up like a peer to the reverbed-out pop melancholia of Wild Nothing and Twin Shadow.

 Some twenty-odd years ago, Hershey, PA’s Ocean Blue was among America’s contribution to the perfect jangle-pop streaming in from abroad, in the vein of Lloyd Cole and Aztec Camera. While others disappeared or extinguished, The Ocean Blue carried on, toiling beneath the surface (above obscurity), marking the last twenty years with a few LPs, and EPs to bridge the gaps—bringing us to 2013 and Ultramarine. At its most relevant, as well as successful, there’s “Sad Night, Where Is Morning?” a New Order-sourced gem with a swirling beat, thoughtfully-plucked bassline, and gorgeous hook. Ultimately, it’s a quiet record, boasting a lot of mid-tempo dreaminess. With the exception of the cloying “A Rose Is A Rose” Ultramarine stays in its lane. David Schelzel & Co. aren’t attempting to recapture any youthfulness here. They’re grown up, settled, content. “New York 6AM” gives the sense not of stumbling home, witness to a sobering morning, but rising with the day.

 DOWNLOAD: “Sad Night, Where Is Morning?”, “Give It A Try”

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