Track By Track: Ocean Alley take us through their excellent second album, Chiaroscuro
The psych-surf-rock outfit have quickly become one of Australia's faves.
Although they've been bubbling around the Aussie music scene for a number of years now, 2017 felt like the true arrival of Sydney Northern Beaches outfit Ocean Alley. Following on from a slew of fantastic singles like Confidence, Overgrown and The Comedown (which romped in at #48 in last year's Hottest 100), today they unveil their very great second album, Chiaroscuro. 12 tracks dripping in salty psychdelelic surf-rock gold, it finds a band at the absolute peak of their powers. So it comes as no surprise that they're not only one of the most anticipated acts on this year's Groovin The Moo lineup, but are already selling out sideshows around those dates.
The group were kind enough to go on a bit of a deep dive into Chiaroscuro for us, which you can check out below along with the album, and that full run of tour dates this coming April/May.
It’s kind of a weird tradition now for us to have one track on the record where the title has nothing to do with the song, this time its corduroy’s turn. The original title of the song was merely just ‘intro’ but we knew that wouldn’t do, so yeh, corduroy pants are cool.
2. The Comedown
We thought it would be a great idea with this song to have a music video that ties into the one for Lemonworld. Even though it was filmed after Lemonworld, the events on the timeline actually happened before. It also gave us the opportunity to build off Lost Tropics so these two different albums can share the same universe.
3. Happy Sad
Happy Sad definitely reflects the theme most prominently in the album. It has all elements of light and shade in Chiaroscuro. It’s a much older song and before we even knew what the title was going to be, we knew this would be one of the backbone songs of the record.
We couldn’t pass up on the opportunity something funky and sleazy into the mix. It’s hard not to move your feet to this track. I think we all have the most fun playing this live.
This is one of the more softer emotional tracks on the album. The transition between each of the sections are smooth, and it feels like the song rolls on in an endless loop. It’s one of our more personally preferred tracks on the album. We put a lot of thought, trial and error into it, and specifically found how we wanted it to feel. It carries a certain gloriousness that’s for sure.
For this track we took inspiration from one of our favourite songs by Hattie Carol - Coolest Lady. It’s not like a conventional song with a verse and chorus, instead it is written with chapters and each chapter describes something different. It starts bare and simplified which allows the story to be told through the lyrics, only at the end of the song does the full band come in loud and thunderous with a melodic solo on lead guitar.
7. She’s Always Right
The idea of this song plays on the fact that no matter what someone might do or say, and how much they might be wrong about it, sometimes it’s better to not tell them that they are wrong, and that they’re always right. We hoped this could be one of the most relatable songs on the album.
Frostbite is a track for us that feels like we bring it home with our older material. It’s got backstroke organ, a rocky chorus, and a whole lot of oomph! This head banger will give you a sore neck in the morning.
Overgrown has been played in our live set for quite some time now, it’s a great opener and it gets the crowd moving. We were unsure at first if it was going to fit on the new album, but after time we realised there was no better home for it.
The chorus in this truck has really technical timing, and it took many attempts to nail the perfect take in the studio. The biggest challenge writing this was trying to get the drums to switch to the off-beat half way through the chorus whilst keeping the chords and melody flowing and unchanged.
11. Flowers and Booze
We’ve always had an idea of writing a song with a kind of Santana vibe, you can definitely hear that influence in this track, and actually the working title throughout recording was Santana for this song, only after we decided to change it to something a bit more fruity.
12. Man You Were Looking For
We recorded this song with one solid take, no cuts, no drop ins, no layering. We wanted it to sound as raw and visceral as possible. Like the listener was standing right there next to us. It only consists of three parts, one guitar and two vocals. It’s the most stripped back song we’ve ever recorded, and it oozes warmth.
Sat 14 Apr – The Tivoli, Brisbane (SOLD OUT)
Sun 15 Apr – The Tivoli, Brisbane (JUST ANNOUNCED)
Sat 21 Apr – The Enmore, Sydney
Fri 27 Apr – Groovin The Moo, Wayville
Sat 28 Apr – Groovin The Moo, Maitland
Sun 29 Apr – Groovin The Moo, Canberra
Sat 5 May – Groovin The Moo, Bendigo
Sun 6 May – Groovin The Moo, Townsville
Fri 11 May – Metropolis, Fremantle
Sat 12 May – Groovin The Moo, Bunbury
Sat 19 May – The Forum, Melbourne
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