Ocean Colour Scene: Saturday (Keep on Keeping On)

 |   |  1 min read

Ocean Colour Scene: Rockfield
Ocean Colour Scene: Saturday (Keep on Keeping On)

Despite being one of the most exciting and interesting bands of the Britpop Nineties -– singer Simon Fowler had a rough and soulful voice, guitarist Steve Cradock a member of Paul Weller's touring band –- this outfit from Birmingham never really took hold in New Zealand.

On their home turf they had Weller as a vocal supporter, opened for Oasis and scored five top 10 albums, the best being Moseley Shoals in '96.

Never too late to discover them of course, but despite some fine moments this patchy album isn't the way in.

It opens well with the Anglofolk-rock of 100 Floors of Perception which recalls a meltdown of the Who and Small Faces with some psychedelic guitar colouring . . . but those references also alert you to how many there are on this album.

Mrs Maylie is a bristling Faces-type rocker with a whimsical late Sixties middle section (the Move?); Saturday is a terrific pop single, or it would have been in the Seventies; Sing Children Sing looks back to dark folk-rock of the late Sixties (“don't you know about the sandman . . .”); other songs recall a Who rock-opera, Mott the Hoople, the Kinks . . .

For all its impressive embellishments (strings, Stones-like piano, guitar pyrotechnics), the mostly upbeat mood and some standouts (that opener, Magic Carpet Days), this doesn't hang together and lyrically is often clumsy, cliched or juvenile . . . notably the laboured rhymes on the Floyd-like folksy Village Life, and the hippie anthemic What's Mine is Yours which, although Lennonesque, is something he would never approached even when his most out of it.

Too much here feels undercooked (Rockfield's weakness is disguised by strings and a Baba O'Reilly undercurrent) and although some have suggested this is OCS's return to form it sounds – the rocking firepower aside – more like returns to other people's forms.

There is an interview in Birmingham with Ocean Colour Scene captured at their Britrock peak in 1996 here.


Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Orchestra of Spheres: Brothers and Sisters of the Black Lagoon (Fire)

Orchestra of Spheres: Brothers and Sisters of the Black Lagoon (Fire)

This quirky Wellington ensemble have been prolific on the recording front, toured extensively (China, Scandinavia, Europe and the US) and now find themselves on the estimable Fire Records out of... > Read more

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Faith No More; We Care a Lot, Deluxe Edition (Universal)

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Faith No More; We Care a Lot, Deluxe Edition (Universal)

Now available on double vinyl and CD with extra tracks, demos, live versions and remixes, this impressive '85 debut – before Mike Patton took over vocal duties from soon-to-depart Chuck... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

JOHN SURMAN: The casually-dressed career

JOHN SURMAN: The casually-dressed career

The European jazz label ECM rarely uses photos of musicians on its covers: usually they are blurry photos taken out a moving vehicle; monochromatic landscapes; eerily evocative imagery . . . They... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: The La De Da's

THE BARGAIN BUY: The La De Da's

New Zealand may not have much of a lineage of purely politcal rock music, but there has always been a strong thread of social dissent. Punks certainly didn't invent songs about boring people living... > Read more