Beneath the Rhythm and Sound by The Ocean Blue (1993)

28Mar11

All I knew about The Ocean Blue when I bought this CD was that they lived in Hershey, not far from my PA hometown. I know…not a good reason to throw your support behind a band, but in this instance my “support” consisted of a $3 purchase at a used CD store. I took the leap. Turns out, there is a really nice sound present here. And behind the music, there’s an interesting (but somewhat universal) story about a garage band of high school buddies who actually experienced a degree of success and recognition in the late 80s and early 90s, only to fall short of really hitting it big. Unfortunately, they got trapped in the all-too-common pattern of losing band members to other musical ventures, which may have shaken its core enough to keep The Ocean Blue from reaching its full pop potential. They did continue to replace band members, write music, release records, and tour…but Beneath the Rhythm and Sound probably represents the band’s peak moments.

The reason I chose this record over their other albums is simple…take a listen to the standout track ‘Sublime’ and try to tell me that you’ve never heard it before. Even if you really haven’t, it’s such a comfortable sounding song that you could swear it has been in the background of some moment before. It’s a real gem of a song, and a few others are in its league like ‘Either Or’, ‘Crash’ and ‘The Relatives’. As an album, the sound stays consistently pop/rock with guitar driven melodies that wouldn’t sound out of place in a John Hughes film like Pretty in Pink. And I don’t mean this next statement as an insult, but I recall a period of time when I’d put this album in my Discman to help me fall asleep. The vibe is very relaxing!

The easy musical comparison to make here is Morrissey/The Smiths, and I think I hear a little restrained New Order in there at times. 90s bands like Deep Blue Something (‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’) and Sponge (‘Molly’…speaking of John Hughes) certainly were formed in the image of The Ocean Blue…not to say that they pioneered a sound, but they definitely mastered it. I get a kick out of learning more about bands like The Ocean Blue who aren’t really a part of the pop music dialogue, but they should/could be. It’s not for lack of musical ability. Genuinely talented bands like this who never hit it big serve as the “control group” for the hypothesis that there’s a degree of luck and selling out that will get you to the top.

music turtle recommends: AT LEAST GET ‘SUBLIME’!

What do you think about this album? Comment below

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4 Responses to “Beneath the Rhythm and Sound by The Ocean Blue (1993)”

  1. 1 page23

    Great album!!

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