PREMIERE: The Ocean Party

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We love these guys. Most bands don’t usually don’t make more than twice an appearance on this blog (so many new bands, so little time), but these guys have somehow found a way around that. Dave has a blatant man crush on everyone in this band – while The Ocean Party’s member spawn-out into other local acts like Velcro, Kins, I’lls, The Removalists, Pencil, Ciggie Witch and Mining Boom makes shirking away from Band Bias almost impossible.

Amidst this band’s thread of solo projects, side projects and gratuitous sharing of talents across acts that have, and still continue to make important contributions to local music, The Ocean Party is the constant fixture in the chaos. And in a way, their Brunswick sharehouse (which featured in our photo essay of the guys earlier this year) seems to have become a central meeting point, literally and lyrically.

The band’s new track ‘Split’ which we’re premiering today sums up the band. The song’s subject is about moving away, but it’s a bit of a homecoming really.

Much like the song title, the band has had it’s share of vagabond members traipsing off to the UK and New York before returning back to the band or leaving to work on other projects. The Ocean Party originally met in high school in Wagga Wagga, but didn’t become a band until years later when they all found themselves living in Melbourne. After drummer Ben Protasiewicz departed for Perth, Simon Lam joined when their debut record The Sun Rolled off the Hills was recorded. 

After the album tour, Simon left Australia for England with his other band Kins, while the band started penning their follow up, Social Clubs. Simon made a prodigal return, coming home to record the second album, before departing again to focus on his other project, I’lls. A few months later, Curtis Wakeling (Velcro) left for New York for six months, so Joe Foley (Aleks and the Ramps) joined on bass and Lachlan Denton’s younger brother Zac moved from Wagga as a drummer. Curtis eventually returned from NY, and after getting the songs together for the new album the band packed up the van and headed to Tarcutta in NSW to record new material.

‘Split’ was recorded on Lachlan and Zac’s grandparents farm. During recording, the band moved away from the traditional idea of Lachlan Denton being the lead singer. Instead, the band took a literal approach to the song title, with every member of the band writing and singing their own songs. Zac penned ‘Split’ after moving from Wagga to Melbourne. “At the time I was just 18 and living with the rest of the band who had time to spare and less responsibility” Zac says, dividing time time for music and working as a plasterer for “shit wages and a hard-arse boss”.

Suburban nuances, the whole slave-to-the-man mantra is the obvious common thread through all our local bands denoting that token pop jangle. The point is to make the end result appear a lot effortless than the track’s intention/subject matter – and these guys do it well. ‘Split’ is a gorgeous, leisurely jam that could easily fool Shazam for a Real Estate b-side, but it’s not a sound we’ll tire of soon. The band have honed a much cleaner sound here, but those rolling guitar hooks and wistful lyrics are still hanging out right where they left off. The Ocean Party’s modesty and unassuming nature is what makes them so damn likeable. Knowing the nature of this band, the guys will probably see through a few more lineup changes. As long as they stick around chugging along making tunes about chugging along, we’re content.

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