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Künstler: The Ocean Blue
Label: March Records


More than ten years since 1989 when they first arrived from their native Hershey, PA, to make their debut, the members of the Ocean Blue remained indie pop kings with a sweet musical demeanor. They were barely out of high school when they inked a deal with Sire and their fresh jangle pop came alive on their eponymous debut. However, the start of a new millennium represented a redefining period for the Ocean Blue. Founding members David Schelzel, Bobby Mittan, and Rob Minnig had watched fellow bandmate Steve Lau leave the band after 1994's Beneath the Rhythm and Sound, and welcomed guitarist/keyboardist Oed Ronne to take his place. Failed record contracts led the band to release only 1,000 pressings of its fifth album Davy Jones' Locker (1999) through its official web site, but things would soon begin looking up. Independent label March Records signed the band two years later, reissuing Davy Jones' Locker in spring 2001. Much more men than post-pubescent boys falling in love with the sounds of the Smiths, U2, and Echo & the Bunnymen, the members of the Ocean Blue cast a slight maturity on Davy Jones' Locker. Schelzel's songwriting is still dreamy with heavy poetic imagery, and Ronne and Minnig showcase their own songwriting talents on "Consolation Prize" and "Been Down a Lot Lately." They are both melodically charming like Morrissey, but don't wholeheartedly embrace the passion found on The Ocean Blue and Cerulean. Standout track "Denmark" features a drum machine, something not usually found in the Ocean Blue's simple acoustics and pop synth beats, and it's a little startling at first. Schelzel's angelic brooding and shoegazing reverie are at their finest, so it's a suiting track, leading into the blissful "Cukaloris." There are a few sections where Schelzel's storytelling could have stretched out just a bit, but Davy Jones' Locker is a decent comeback of sorts for the Ocean Blue. The band's liking for jaunty '60s-inspired pop captures the record, and the pop quirkiness may not be fully defined this time around, but the Ocean Blue somehow stays the class act to which listeners were introduced all those years ago. ~ MacKenzie Wilson