The Ocean Party’s summery guitar pop sparkles and pulsates along on memorable melodies and distinct tales of Australian life.
Their fourth release in half as many years, Soft Focus showcases a subtle broadening of The Ocean Party’s musical palette. “Cut Throat” imbues their 80s-indebted indie miserablism with a faint country twang, and “Wading In” dabbles in synth atmos that only just escapes the realm of cheese. As is usually the case with the Melbourne quintet, the predominant mood is ‘mellow’, although lead single “Head Down” provides a nice change of pace, bringing together a chiming guitar lead with languid saxophone noodling that sounds far more enjoyable than it does on paper.
It feels somewhat inappropriate to label an album possessing tracks like “Bed As A Grave” and “Still Stuck Out Here” as a joyful listen, but there’s something uniquely enjoyable about the shimmering and supremely melodic melancholia The Ocean Party present on Soft Focus. –Dennis de Caires