I am not a fan of modern music. I prefer the early 90's punk movement and classic rock such as Rush, The Eagles, and Queen. However, there has been a couple of bands from recent years to slip through. Not mainstream bands, but more local, indie stuff. I find these bands to be more genuine, more insightful then there mainstream counterparts. So this week, I will be taking a look at one small time band from Canada's We(s)t Coast.
I should correct myself in calling Hey Ocean! a small time band. Since 2008 they have done several tours across Canada, played at Virgin Fest 08 in Calgary, which included several big Canadian bands such as the Tragically Hip, Three Days Grace and Matthew Good. Also they played at several events during the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. Also starting this week (as of this writing) they have kicked off their Canadian Tour in Vancouver. So to calling them small time is not appropriate.
The line up of the band is a simple trio. Ashleigh Ball on lead vocals, flutes and xylophones, David Beckingham on lead guitar and back up vocals, where he shares that job with Dave Vertesi who also is the bass guitarist. While guitars are a staple for almost every band, the usage of flutes and xylophones gives Hey Ocean! a unique sound.
Earlier this year, Hey Ocean! released their latest studio album Is and was my first foray into the music of Hey Ocean. Needless to say, I absolutely fell in love with this trio from Vancouver. Is (the album) is (the noun) a fantastic album, full of peppy, positive songs. Even the slower, more contemplative songs such as Last Mistake and Islands have a positive energy to them. While the slower songs don't have the same pick up and go beat to them, the slower songs are still positive as they tend to make the listener feel warm and protected.
If I were to compare Hey Ocean!, it would be to their BC brethren Michael Bublé. I feel that they, like Bublé, defy conventions and do their own thing. It would be hard to pin down exactly what genre they could be classified in. With songs like Big Blue Wave, you can see that it is easily influenced by Pop conventions while the song preceding that, Islands, feels more like Adult Contemporary, or even Jazz (though some people don't consider Michael Bublé jazz).
When i get a new soundtrack, there are usually one or two songs that really stand out for me and this is no exception. While the album has 13 solid tracks, the two that stand out for me are Islands and Big Blue Wave. Big Blue Wave is a song tat makes you want to get up and dance. It's lyrics are catchy and Asheligh Ball's voice is flawless in this song. Her singing exudes energy and joy and it passes on to the listener.
With Islands it is very much the opposite. David Vertesi/Beckingham is on the Vocals (with Ashleigh Ball on back up) and it is a very soulful, relaxing song. As I said before, Islands is a song that makes one feel warm and protected. While Big Blue Wave is a song of summertime fun and partying with your friends on a beach, Islands is a song of quiet, autumn contemplation about loved ones. Both songs do well balancing each other out and both are fantastic.
Hey Ocean's Music is very reflective of their British Colombia roots. Much like the city from where they are from, Hey Ocean's music is very laid back. Like Megaran and MC Frontalot, this is the sort of music your parents could enjoy and find no qualms with it. As of this writing, Hey Ocean is doing a Kickstarter to help get them to do a world tour. They are less then 3000 away from their goal, so why not give them a hand. To donate, visit Kickstarter today and help make their dream a reality..
If you are into indie rock and wish to expand your horizons, I would whole heartily suggest picking up Is. You can find their music through their website or on Amazon. They are also doing a Canada wide tour and may stop by a city near you. If you are interested, the tour dates are also listed on their site.
Next week, I discover what happens when the Kremling's Krew kidnap your best friend. It becomes serious monkey business. I'm Daimo Mac and I am lost in the music.
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