Friday, August 18, 2017

The Ocean Party - Beauty Point

Seven albums in as many years is a prodigious feat for any pop band simply in terms of quantity.  But The Ocean Party isn't a band that deserves to be measured solely by physical weight or volume of their production.  This is a band that delivers style and substance in equal measure.  Six adept musicians provide multiple guitars, bass, percussion, keys, and even a sax (that always scores points with this old sax player), creating a sound that is rich and varied.  Moreover, with six talented songwriters, there isn't the pressure that often exists with other bands for one or two members to write an album's worth of worthy material.

The latest release, Beauty Point, finds the band with their sharpest writing to date, albeit with the somewhat more ambivalent perspective and broodier observations that tend to come with age and experience.  But darker shadings aside, the songs invariably sound gorgeous, and frequently feature uptempo arrangements.  Moreover, it is an endearing feature of this band that its members so ably help shape and refine each songwriter's compositions.  The friendship and mutual respect is palpable.  But that isn't just a guess, as I watched the band interact while waiting to perform their set at the Victory Lounge in Seattle this Spring on the final stop of a long tour.  This is a close knit group.

If, despite the multiple songwriters, The Ocean Party has a predominant style, it is a hazy guitar pop.  While not lo-fi (the production here is excellent), there is a hazy summer beach day vibe to a number of the tracks, although tracks like "Quiet Life" provide an anxiously taut, and thoroughly delightful, counterpoint.  It is nearly impossible to select representative songs to illustrate the content of the album because of the varied compositions and, more importantly, the uniform quality.  But select we must (it is an office rule), so we have a few here that struck me on the most recent front to back play of the album -- the fourth this afternoon.  In any case, we had to include "More To Run", as we think it is one of the top ten pop songs of the year ("Runaway" gave it a run in the office vote).  Beauty Point is a top ten album for us, without question.  But we encourage you to determine it for yourself by streaming it at one of the Bandcamp links below.

The Ocean Party are Jordan Thompson, Liam Halliwell, Curtis Wakeling, Lachlan Denton, Zac Denton, and Crowman.  Beauty Point is available from Emotional Response Records in North America and Spunk Records in Australia and New Zealand.  We have provide the relevant links below.

Emotional Response Records page for album (digital)
Emotional Response Records page for vinyl
Spunk Records page to order CD
Spunk records page to order vinyl
The Ocean Party's Bandcamp site for Beauty Point

1 comment:

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