Music Review: Hey Ocean!

The Hurt Of Happiness

Hey Ocean! is a female-led alternative pop trio out of Vancouver that recently returned with their fourth studio album after taking a few years off. Singer Ashleigh Ball and guitarist/co-vocalist David Beckingham have been friends since childhood and their shared vocal duties throughout these nine tracks adds quite the variety to the album.

Pop-friendly “Amsterdam” starts the album off strong with arguably the catchiest hook of the nine tracks. “Can’t Let Go” changes pace completely and sounds like a song from The War on Drugs before moving into another pop-strong hook and they take influence from UK bands like Keane and Snow Patrol on the slow burning “Just Enough”.

The title track is a daydream amid it all where Beckingham’s airy vocals float through the somewhat funky verse into a Beach Boys- esque chorus. Bassist David Vertesi takes the lead on “Soul of My Heart”, that gives off a slight The National vibe with his baritone vocals and slow-paced delivery overtop dark guitar.

“To the Sea” is a dismal finish to the album consisting of Ball softly singing over a light piano and aching violin of losing someone to the sea. A pleasant listen with a range of influences led by a talented vocal pairing, Hey Ocean! has made a graceful return. 6.5/10

Music Review: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

Gumboot Soup

Gumboot soup album cover by Jason Galea

Gumboot soup album cover by Jason Galea

Arguably the most productive group of stoners on planet earth, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard once again draw from their seemingly endless well of unique creativity to produce their 13th studio album, Gumboot Soup. 

The first genuine compliment for the 7-piece psychedelic rock band from Melbourne is this… they know how to write! Since the bands first full-length release in 2012, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard's musical prevalence has been impressive. Not only because 2017 saw the band release 5 albums in a year(!) but because of the concept and stylistic changes the band undertook throughout those releases.

For this record the band leave their concept album format, and releases a pleasantly cohesive soup of eclectic stylings. Mackenzie explained that the songs on Gumboot Soup are "definitely not B-sides or anything.They’re more songs that didn’t work in any of the rest of the four records.”

Gumboot Soup is a sonic rollercoaster, it really is! Reaching weightless and melodic heights, before crashing down into dark and muddy waters.  Overall the band balance their lively somewhat abrasive tone with a carefree jazz spirit to take you on this ride. Its leaves a pretty good taste in your mouth...

First to drop in the soup… a super melodic and incredibly catchy gambler's tale. 'Beginner's luck' is not meaty, but it does introduce a fun and simple flavour to the album.

What’s a soup with out some liquid! King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard brings the substance with a driving tune 'Muddy Water'- a more classic King Giz flavour.

With the middle of the album comes the onslaught of ‘The Great Chain Of Being’. This song is built on a heavy drudging guitar riff that is complimented by a slightly Gregorian sounding vocal tone.

The song ‘The Wheel’ finishes the album and it feels as if you are leaving the theme park heading out through the turn styles to go home. Or to continue the weak soup metaphor, it's a chance for you to tip the last of the broth down your gullet in satisfaction!

Overall King Gizzard &The Lizard Wizards 13th studio album, Gumboot Soup, is easier to digest than some of their previous works. If you haven’t heard the band before and are looking to change up your musical diet, this album might be a great entry point. If you have been following the band for a while, you’ll hear stylistic similarities from a few previous collections, but this record also has something new to offer… 7/10, bon appetit!