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The Ocean Blue

I still remember hearing The Ocean Blue for the first time. It was amongst the tremendous surge of Britpop bands in the early 90's that we now refer to as the shoegaze scene. Their sound then was a jangling, light blend of delayed guitars and brilliant drumming. And that has not changed.

Nearly fifteen years after the band first began working, their music is as lushly beautiful and lyrically mesmerizing as ever. The songs on Waterworks are hauntingly beautiful, full of airy, wistful sounds underscoring the clever lyrics of David Schelzel. The foundations of the music are still, thankfully, within the bounds of the shoegaze genre, giving those of us who desire more of that music a welcome gift. Always more Trash Can Sinatras than Catherine Wheel or My Bloody Valentine, The Ocean Blue's music is still full of tranquility and a meditatingly transcendent quality. Pleasant to the ear, and full of the joy so apparent from a group of boyhood friends who continue to be able to do what they desire for a living… making great music.

The witty lyrics of "Ticket To Wyoming" are a perfect example of the continuing off-center quirkiness that makes this band so great. "Bought a ticket to Wyoming/ tossed another life away/ left, and a lotta things I didn't get to say/ I know your daddy didn't like me/ said I wasn't up to any good/ so I high-tailed it to Wyoming, because I could" The jangling guitars of "Golden Gate" easily transport the listener back to the glory days of shoegaze's formative years, and the scrubby beat of "Sunshower" makes for an enjoyable off-kilter dance number.

One more great shoegaze record for 2004. I've just about lost track of all the great music that has been released this year, but I'm certain this record will find it's way into my top ten list. And if you stop and give it a listen, you'll find yourself tapping your toes and smiling along.

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:

1. Fast Forward Reverse
2. Pedestrian
3. Golden Gate
4. Ticket To Wyoming
5. Sunshower
6. The Northern Jetstream

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