When The Ocean Blue dazzled their way onto the scene in 1989 with their ethereal, self-titled debut, it was as if, despite being American, they had ideologically set out to sublimely encapsulate everything that was monumental about British post-punk and its aftermath throughout the decade that was then coming to a close. Indeed, there was The Smiths’ ineffable melancholy, the chiming guitars and widescreen atmospherics of Echo & The Bunnymen, and, most especially, a Postcard Records sort of way with a curiously unforgettable melody and hook.
They never officially actually broke up – but their output has been limited to one album (2013’s Ultramarine) since 2004. And so the announcement of a glittering new long player, the floridly titled Kings and Queens / Knaves and Thieves (out June 21 via Korda Records) was not in the least insignificant.
No surprise, the first single “Kings and Queens” could have been an outtake from the Bunnymen’s legendary Ocean Rain album. But follow up “All The Way Blue” (along with its enigmatic video) has really pushed our new wave nostalgia buttons, being as a resplendently striking Ultravox homage, which finds frontman David Schelzel most transcendently pleading, “Show me the colors you see / Show me the colors of romance” over spectral piano plinking and gloriously opulent synth swells – almost as if to suggest 1983 had somehow found its way back to our present day (and grunge, most wonderfully, never happened.)
As if it need be said, we expected nothing less from The Ocean Blue.