Words by Jimmy Glinster
With a name like Ocean Grove I was straight up expecting some kind of Parkway Drive imitation band like the many we’ve seen over the years once it became popular to name your band after the place you grew up. At least they didn’t feel the need to verb the noun, though, and thankfully they sound far different from what I was expecting.
Well, at least that’s what the opening track Flava from their latest album Up In The Air Forever has so far led me to believe. I’m not even sure where this fits into the umpteen million genres these days, but it’s a fresh sound which is, well, refreshing. It actually kind of reminds me of some of the softer stuff you’d here on the uber popular Limp Bizkit albums.
Nu-Metal? Not sure, but it does have the rap, the clean lyrics, the sample tracks and a bucketload of pop sensibility. We’ll get to the bands fashion sense a little later.
Sex and Gold opens with a grooving guitar riff, programmed drums and vocal lead in. It soon opens up into a solid bounce of heavy guitars, phat bass and solid drums. Apart from the super clean vocals, this one reminds me of something by (Hed) PE from the blackout era.
And yes, that’s another Nu-Metal reference. Are we there yet, though? I’m not sure, but it certainly has all the flavours, bar one. It hasn’t quite hit the Metal part of Nu-Metal yet.
I’m not a fan of synth intros. Luckily, though, Cali Sun fucked off the synth pretty quickly and progressed into an industrial sounding rock song. This one has a bit of a Nine Inch Nails vibe to it. Not really my kind of thing, but I’m sure there are many listeners that would find this favourable. The pop sensibility of this band is impressive, and each song so far is very easy to groove along to.
Damn it, more synth. Not too much, though, as the band busts in pretty quickly for Bustin. This is probably the poppiest song yet, and it takes me back to a project by the name of N.E.R.D. which some of you might remember as the side project of Pharrell Williams. Some of you won’t even know who either of those are, back that’s ok, just head back to your grannie’s basement and put on some Scandinavian metal, because this ones not for you.
As for the rest of you, this one’s probably for you. At least some of it, if you can handle catchy song writing and a sound that’s not necessarily metal yet still heavy in parts.
Ok, I take back that poppiest song statement. This next one, Silver Lining is a straight-up pop song. It’s still got heavy guitar though, but it could almost be called a pop-punk tune and probably wouldn’t sound out of place one of those Machine Gun Kelly albums or even the Corey MF Taylor solo album.
This next track has some bloke called Lil Aaron on it, and after a quick google I learn that he is a rapper from Indianapolis that merges elements of pop punk, emo, hip-hop and pop.
Well, that pretty much sounds like a description of this album so far. This track HMU is mostly a straight up Hip-Hop effort. Think The Neptunes, as opposed to N.E.R.D and you’ll get where I am going. If you even know what I’m referring to that is.
Bored is something I am not yet, but that’s what this next track is called. This album has so much variety to it, and to be honest, I haven’t really disliked any of it yet. It’s not a metal album by any standard, but it is heavy in its own very special way. And yeah, I’m going to say it again. It’s heavy in a Nu-Metal kinda way, it’s kinda heavy.
These blokes reckon they are bored out of their brains in that last track. I very much doubt that, though, it sounds like they are having a heap of fun making this Noise. Noise follows suit with the rest of the album. It’s rocking, it bounces, and the solid choruses always manage to grab your attention and keep you hooked into the, well, hook.
Silence reminds me of so many bands and so many sounds of the early 2000s that I can’t even begin to list them. Well, I could, but I couldn’t be fucked right now because I’m enjoying this a little too much, and we are almost at the last track.
And here it is, the title track Up In The Air Forever. Hahaha, I can’t believe they just did it. The token end of album ballad. Well played gents, well played. Gated drums, clean guitars, heavily reverberated vocals, crisp clean bass, synths and samples build the perfect atmosphere to let us all know that the journey is over … for now.
If we’ve moved far enough past the Nookie, and no longer want to cut our life into pieces, there could very well be a place in the market for this band. Can pop and heavy co-exist, can rap and rock do its thing again?
I sure do hope so because this is the most refreshing album I have heard for decades. Oh, but before I go, let’s talk about the fashion. Forget the wallet chains, dickies and spiked hair. This band look nothing like any of the Nu-Metal posers from back in the 2000s, they look more like a bunch of ratty blokes that you might run into down at Vinnies Dive for a Sunday avo gig.
How about it blokes?