Ocean Color Scene – Ayer Hoy 1992 – Album Review 2018

They lit up the charts with swaggering hits like Hundred Mile High City, Paul Weller and Noel Gallagher were their biggest fans, and the irresistible riff of The Riverboat Song blared every week on Chris Evans’ TFI Friday. Their second album, Moseley Shoals, went triple platinum. His third, Marchin’ Ya, topped the charts. Both are included in this deluxe celebration of the band’s career that includes all 10 studio albums.

We also received bonus discs full of B-sides and rarities, with Weller on the somber ballad Robin Hood and the Gallagher brothers on an Oasis-esque version of Day Tripper.

Like its stellar collaborators, Ocean Color Scene looked to the future with one foot planted firmly in the past.

Their songs had echoes of the Small Faces and Zeppelin, choruses of the Byrds and melodies of McCartney. However, OCS was always more than the sum of his influences.

You can hear their chemistry on hits like The Day We Caught The Train.

Steve Cradock’s excellent and distinctive guitar playing was the perfect complement to singer Simon Fowler’s enigmatic lyrics. Rhythm section Oscar Harrison (drums) and Damon Minchella (bass) were the glue that held it all together.

After 1996’s Moseley Shoals, they became more diverse.

His songs spanned instrumentals from soul (All Up), reggae (Half A Dream Away) and folk (Big Star). Cradock became more interested in the piano. I loved Fowler’s tender duet with PP Arnold on It’s A Beautiful Thing.

But maybe the palette was too wide.

Top 10 hits were out of print after 1997’s Better Day, though they had decent hits through 2005.

They were a significant band whose talent deserves recognition.

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