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North Atlantic Drift by Ocean Colour Scene

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Reviewed on 1st July 2003.


North Atlantic Drift

By Ocean Colour Scene

Accompanying this latest album by the band it seems the nation loves to hate is a press release ranting about that fact but stating that OCS have defiantly continued to produce great music and be a great band. That of course is a matter of opinion. Mine will follow soon. I am amused by the tour information though. 18.50 for tickets to see the band in a variety of small venues!! Venues where bands with a far bigger profile have recently played for a mere 10. Maybe that's part of where things went wrong for these Midshire men?

After knocking out perhaps THE single most memorable (in the UK at least) guitar riff off the nineties with some help from a certain TV show and including it on a fine album full of energy and great melodies OCS then seemed to plummet into a nosedive. Another great guitar riff (One Hundred Mile High City) and the inclusion of that on a smash hit British film soundtrack and things looked like they may carry on well for the band. But a lacklustre album failed to keep the masses entertained. Ditto the follow up to that.

And so now we have "North Atlantic Drift". In true OCS style they promise plenty with opener and recent single "I Just Need Myself" that shakes and jigs about with a bit of verve and vigour. Alas the overall tone of the album is quite dull. The title track is strong and contains a nice melody but there just always seems o be something missing. Simon Fowler's voice no longer seems to contain the passion that could be heard on Mosely Shoals and you feel although this is a strong tune it could be fantastic in the hands of Travis or even Doves.

The whole disc just seems to plod along at the same pace and there's just no get up and go to the album. Fine, a nice album to relax to then? But even when you just want something to chill out to at the end of the day it's nice to have a harmony that makes your hair stand up on end or a chord change that catches you unaware. Everything's nicely crafted and well performed but it's just all so safe and dull. There really just seems to be nothing to the music that makes you want to believe in the songs or inspire you to do anything other than see what other CD's you have in your collection. I just find myself thinking, "nice, but such and such could have done this much better".

"Been Writing" and its accompanying strings and "Song Goes On" are, again, most pleasant but metaphorically are the nice guy that girls like to talk to but never want to fuck. There are other bands making better music than this. It's that simple. It's not that OCS are a bad band. They're just probably better off playing other people's songs than their own.



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