This Northern Beaches group is making their long-awaited debut performance at the Roundhouse next week, so it only seems appropriate to delve into their recent hit album Chiaroscuro – no, I don’t know how to pronounce that either.
These guys are the kings of producing hooks that bulge with swagger and charisma. Influenced by alternative rock greats Jimi Hendrix and Dire Straits, their music is as soothing as it is sexy. Infusing jazz, pop and reggae, Ocean Alley created something extraordinary with Chiaroscuro, which peaked at No. 5 on the ARIA Australian Albums Chart.
Nothing epitomises the beauty of Ocean Alley’s music more than ‘The Comedown’ – their magnum opus. Placing at No. 48 in last year’s Triple J Hottest 100, this musical masterpiece both lyrically and musically demonstrates the numbing experience of coming down from a briefly enjoyable high. As the instrumentation slow builds, you’re thrown into a euphoric state of tranquillity, reminiscent of a psychedelic, drug-infused music era most of us never got to enjoy.
‘Confidence’ is a stand out track on this record and another likely contender for next year’s Hottest 100. Told from the perspective of a modest man trying to seduce someone who is undoubtedly out of his league, everything from the slap bass to the mollifying vocals reeks of sex appeal – it’s what you chuck on the radio when things are heating up in the bedroom.
‘Bones’ – their latest single – gives lead vocalist Baden Donegal an opportunity to show off his singing capabilities. His passionate vocals soar as heavy drums and a pulsating guitar riff dominate this catchy track, with a Pink Floyd-style guitar solo thrown in at the end for good measure.
Arguably the best Australian record of 2018 – ignoring close contenders Odette and DMAs – Chiaroscuro is enjoyed best with a whiskey at around 1 am in the morning. It’s uneasily sensual, somehow satisfying more than just the ears as you listen. They’ve manifested a stylistic balance somewhere between Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bob Marley, and it’s glorious to behold. Their performance on campus next week is a must, so you can in person relish the splendour of their unique sound.