Review Summary: Ocean Comfort Zone
Managing to physically stick around since the heady days of Britpop, and spiritually since the 1960s, Ocean Colour Scene (OCS) have formed a well worn groove and decided to stay with it. Frontman Steve Craddock moonlights as a member of Paul Weller’s backing band, and in some regards it seems as if the Modfather’s willingness to change and try new modes (his 2012 LP Sonik Kicks
for example) might have rubbed off on the britrockmodpop (note: not real genre…yet) survivors.
…but let’s not go crazy now. Painting
still contains much of what you would expect from an OCS record; implied dreams of an age gone by (“I Don’t Want To Leave England”), good-time roll out the barrel numbers with a reserved amount of energy (“Doodle Book”) and vaguely mournful efforts that deal in introspection (“The Winning Side”).
There are, however, two tracks which provide evidence that you can teach old dogs new tricks. “If God Made Everyone” posits an important, if sly, question (“then who the hell made you"”) and allows a slow start to lull you into a false sense of security; the song’s second half sliding into a patchwork of rumbling bass lines, underlying morse code beeps and even…wait for it…some riffing!
“Professor Perplexity” takes this brave new musical world a tad further. Craddock’s fine vocal performance takes centre stage against a guitar passage that offers more than a little sense of foreboding and trepidation. A minor psychedelic breakdown and squall of feedback sees the song out before the album dips into business as usual with the tepid “George’s Tower.” Oh well. Close enough.
There’s something for everyone, and OCS do well to cater to a crowd who are afraid of falling with the rest of us into the future. Still, consistency can be a virtue and for those of you who dream of Brighton beach or picking flowers from Blake’s “green and pleasant land”…welcome home.