Not surprisingly, Ocean Colour Scene’s continued reliance on being influenced from the past appeals strongly to me, and the NME’s rating of 6/10 for this latest release and a criticism of that tendency endorses both their musical predispositions as well as mine.
All the tracks pretty much demonstrate their strong 60s affiliations, and a significant nod to the Beatles in harmonies and arrangements. Seventh Professor Perplexity reflects this well both in its title and the use of basic echo effects in the song; opener We Don’t Look in the Mirror, with the recorded voices of children at its start, is firmly planted in a mid to late 60s garden where Moody Blues flowers abound with their sweet fragrances. One of the stronger emotive songs is If God Made Everyone, starting acoustically to rise into a Whoesque/Daltry shout, the rhetorical angst aimed very contemporarily at Norwegian Simon Behring Breivik and his killing spree. A naive question certainly, but no less poignant for the asking. Tenth A Winning Side continues the earnest protest with a mother’s lament for her dead soldier son’s wasted life in war, presumably Afghanistan but universal both in its sentiment and that continued 60s/70s naivety which is only made so because such a question needs to be asked after all these years.
So, ‘earnest’ both in its lyrical concerns as well as homage to a musical past, this won’t therefore appeal to those searching for a new direction, but it is genuine enough as a tenth album from a band surviving firmly beyond their Britpop years with integrity.