Review Summary: There’s such a thing as too traditional.
Attractive around the edges, yet frivolous at the core, it’s clear that Ocean Colour Scene – a band that usually is consistent in delivering quality over variety – has started to wear their formula thin on their tenth album Painting
. Madchester and Britpop may have come and gone, but Ocean Colour Scene is still playing like the 21st century never dawned; proudly showing off their love for The Stone Roses, The Kinks, Traffic, and of course, Oasis. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with showing off your roots, but after twenty years without much notable differentiation in the music taking place, the matter of who really cares to hear the same deal again comes into question. The advantage Ocean Colour Scene has always had is that they know how to incorporate their influences in a way where it’s obvious and blatant, but doesn’t frame them as mimics of lesser quality, and Painting
has more than a fair share of interesting moments in its favor.
Acoustic guitars are at the forefront of many of the tracks, further reinforcing the album’s carefree and upbeat nature, and with songs that barely clock in at over three minutes, Painting
is mainly focused on simplistic, happy-go-lucky hooks in emulation of The Bealtes. However, the hooks aren’t as catchy as they should be, and take a second or third listen to stick in a lasting way. The issue is that the songs just tend to whisk by like a gentle breeze, satisfying as a simple pleasure only in the moment, and not leaving anything to reflect on once it’s over. The songs do start off with some ear-grabbing characteristics though. “Goodbye Old Town” is a country swinger, “Doodle Book” is infectiously groovy and a lovable throwback to the boogie days, and while “The Union” is really the only song where Ocean Colour Scene really jam out on electric guitar, it’s a refreshing break from the acoustics towards the end of the album. These are all interesting little features, but they’re only variations on the same song structure and nothing that indicates progression or growth for the album or the band.
has a bit of a la-dee-da disposition, it goes in one ear and right out the other, and only really has a chance of evoking tapping feet, but it’s very dull and two-dimensional through and through, and won’t provoke even the most dedicated of fans to play it through a second time.