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March 09

Weaving through the light & dark elements of Ocean Alley’s ‘Chiaroscuro’

It’s safe to say Ocean Alley have solidified themselves as Australia’s grooviest band right now and with damn good reason. Chiaroscuro, like the band’s latest single, is confident and refined, taking you on a psychedelic adventure through a hazy Summer that is out of this era (and world). 

“We didn’t really go out with a set plan of how the album should turn out. But once we started writing a few songs the middle of last year, a sort of theme emerged of light and dark and there were two groups we could put these songs in that we were writing.” 

The album title Chiaroscuro is a word from the Renaissance – chiaro, ”light” and scuro, “dark”. It represents a strong, tonal contrast between light and dark that defines a three-dimensional object, or in this case, defining the band’s album as a whole. It’s filled with utterly blissful highs and heartbreaking lows, all bound together forming an honest representation of the band and how far they’ve come. 

We thought we’d dive into Chiaroscuro and try to decipher which tracks fit into the ‘light’ and ‘dark’ themes of this complex album. 

 

Corduroy 

The opening track of the album is kind of like walking into a really cool house party for the first time, being infatuated in the haze of a good time and the unknowns that come with it. It’s a great slow burner and kicks off the album with floaty psychedelic riffs.  

Our verdict: Light 

 

The Comedown 

‘The Comedown’ didn’t win #48 on the Hottest 100 for no reason. The already popular single details the aftermath to a party and all the emotions that follow. We’ve all felt like we’ve been in a helpless state before, so that sense of relatability rings true throughout the song. 

Fun fact: The boys wrote this song after playing Groovin the Moo Maitland. So we look forward to the album that comes out of them playing the whole tour this year! 

Our verdict: Dark 

 

Happy Sad 

Ever had a relationship breakdown and pondered the possibilities that could have been, good or bad? This song is for you. They manage to weave melodic guitar riffs, piano chords and honest lyrics into a heartfelt piece that leaves you feeling all the feels. Happy Sad is definitely a fist-to-heart anthem, just wait for that build toward the end of the track and you’ll know what we mean. It’s our personal fave and we’re gunna call it – the standout of the album.  

Our verdict: Dark and then emerges into the Light 😛  

 

Confidence 

Possibly the catchiest tune of 2018, ‘Confidence’ is Ocean Alley at their groovy, addictive best. The song sticks with you long after it’s over and has you looking for the repeat button. We dare say this one will be a crowd favourite come GTM time! 

Our verdict: Light 

 

Knees 

Knees is an interesting one. It’s mellow, reflective and deals with life’s uncertainties and expectations, reaching a point where you need to ask for guidance, even though you’re doing the best you can. It’s a slow jam full of wah wah pedals that builds. All the pent-up frustration bursts out as the song reaches the final chorus, providing us with an epic conclusion that says to us: it’s okay to not know what you’re doing or what direction you’re heading in right now. 

It’s the kind of song that’s meaning can be different to everyone under their own unique circumstances. 

Overall verdict: Dark 

 

Bones 

We can literally feel this one in our bones! It’s relentless, more upbeat than their usual stuff and would pair perfectly with a training montage. The vocals compliment the sonic guitar rhythms on an emotional level, creating a powerful, driving track. It’s another taste of the band’s versatility.  

Overall verdict: Light 

 

Flowers & Booze 

Reminiscent of Summer days, late nights with good company and great moments causing mischief. ‘Flowers & Booze’ sets a fun, carefree tone towards the end of the album and we’re ready to vibe & dance! 

Our verdict: Light 

 

Man You Were Looking For 

A sombre, acoustic ending to an upbeat album that leaves us wanting more. It’s a great display of Ocean Alley’s intimate, honest lyricism which throughout the album can sometimes take a backseat to their psychedelic sound.  

We’re mostly just sad that the album is over. 

Overall verdict: Dark 

 

You can stream Chiaroscuro in full right now!  


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