We had an opportunity to get advance access to The Ocean Blue's new album Kings and Queens/Knaves and Thieves! It's sound will instantly remind you of alt favorites such as The Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen. It drops June 21, 2019. Check out our track by track review below!
Advance Review - The Ocean Blue – Kings and Queens/Knaves and Thieves
Although many bands are trying to recreate the sound and feel of decades past, Kings and Queens/Knaves and Thieves by The Ocean Blue is a time machine transporting its listeners back to the early nineties. From “Kings and Queens” to “Frozen,” these professional musicians have a solid grip on the sound of their generation and listeners that appreciate that era will love this album.
The album opens with an anthem-sounding title track. A melodic build of guitar, drums, and lyrics to a chorus that is profound and full, “Kings and Queens” perfectly introduces listeners to the layers The Ocean Blue will reveal in the
songs that follow.
The second song pushes the tempo. Catchy and heavy on the acoustic guitar, “It Takes So Long” reminds this reviewer of the Australian band Frente! If that is not a time machine to the early nineties, what is?
Although the first two tracks work to announce the sound, the third song, “Love Doesn’t Make It Easy On Us,” begins the heart of the album. Full of emotions and with a bass drum providing a heartbeat, this song shows the band’s honest and forthcoming nature. Followed immediately by “All The Way Blue,” which sounds like the early eighties with its drum intro and atmospheric sounds, the band continues to push the weighty content.
“Paraguay, My Love,” is the band’s attempt to “get away” from the drama. It is another up-tempo song, musically sounding like summer travels. “F Major 7” is the gentle, early morning, sunrise comedown.
The seventh song on the album, “The Limit,” is another complicated song where the music sounds light and happy (another Frente! sounding song) with lyrics filled with resentment and frustration. It showcases the band’s professionalism and understanding of life. Life is not simple, and music should not be either.
If “The Limit” brings frustration to the surface, “Therein Lies The Problem With My Life” is the moment when Kings and Queens/Knaves and Thieves realizes its reason: to address the stresses of being human and having feelings.
In the last three songs, The Ocean Blue presents three different outcomes with three different moods. With a mix of confusion—uplifting music and sad lyrics—“9 PM Direction” is a song of reflection that lacks growth or change. Although it does not have the highest bpm count on the album, the hard-strumming guitar and direct lyrics in “Step Into The Night” create the most adrenaline producing song from the album. However, this certainty is lost in “Frozen.” Slowly intense and piano heavy, the final track offers little in the way of hope: “No feeling now/it’s gone.”
Closing Thoughts – There is no hiding that this is a band that started in the mid to late ’80s. And while it sounds professional, no vulnerability is lost. The band opens up to its listeners, and the intimacy is what I appreciate the most. Favorite songs: “It Takes So Long,” “All The Way Blue,” and “The Limit.”
Rating - 4/5