Monday, January 28, 2013

Return of The Ocean Blue

The Ocean Blue‘s self-titled debut record on Sire Records in 1989 achieved widespread acclaim and radio & MTV airplay. The young band from Hershey, PA did three
more major label records - Cerulean, Beneath the Rhythm and Sound and See The Ocean Blue - in the '90s.

A few indie EP releases followed until 2004. Within the last few years, the band began working on a new full-length record, their first in over 10 years. Now Ultramarine, is scheduled for March 19 on Korda Records, a new Minneapolis cooperative label that the band helped launch in late 2012.

On the title, singer/songwriter David Schelzel explains, "We chose Ultramarine to reflect several things. The mood of this record is a little blue, and harkens back to our other "blue" record, Cerulean. It's also a fun play on our name, and we were very conscious of our history as a band making this record. Thinking about our music, what it's meant to us and others. Asking a lot of existential questions about the band, what it was, is, and could be in the future."

Ultramarine was recorded with Schelzel and drummer Peter Anderson producing. "This record unfolded in slow motion,” says Schelzel, “At a glacial pace. We are not on the clock we were when we were on the major labels. And we were not in an insulated studio world for months making the music. We made it mostly in our own studios, on our own time. Regular life drifted into this one more than our earlier records.”

Music recording and distribution, and the social networks of the Web have changed the landscape completely since the band’s last full length. Says Anderson, “We are using gear and technology on the recording side that for the most part didn’t exist when the band was making big budget studio records in the '90s. It’s allowed us to do a lot of things we’d never been able to do years ago, all at a much cheaper cost. We also have the ability to connect with people directly via the Web that wasn’t really there when we did our last release."

Lyrically it is romantic, melancholic and impressionistic. The melodic singing, chimey guitars and lush keyboards the band is known for weave their way through the songs. Even the saxophone has returned on the opening track. But it is a record full of music that sounds very of the moment.

"It's an interesting time for us to be putting out a new record. So much of the music we see and hear now reminds me of things I loved growing up," say guitarist Oed Ronne. "My friends in their twenties like The Smiths and New Order. It's a strange thing, but good for us I think. We'd love to reconnect with our old fans, but also make new ones among the ranks of the young."

"I'm really looking forward to sharing this new music with people who know us and people who’ve never heard us before. And play some shows," says bass player Bobby Mittan. "It's been way too long."

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