Defined as, ‘the effect of contrasted light and shadow’, Ocean Alley’s album, Chiarioscuro, is as advertised. From the searing opener Corduroy, which is moody and dramatic, to the funked-up and undeniably fun single Confidence, the band shows their diversity in light and shade.
It’s been a huge 2018 for the six-piece from Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Ringing in the New Year across the ditch at the Rhythm & Alps Festival, and Baydreams at Mount Maunganui, the band was well received in the bastion of dub, roots and reggae amongst compatriots Fat Freddy’s Drop, Cornerstone Roots and the Black Seeds. Keeping the New Zealand vibes rocking, the band asked Tales of I to join them for their Australian Tour.
In the midst of a potato gnocchi cook-up for his family, rhythm guitarist Mitch Galbraith explained the band’s beginnings. “We were just friends who hung out in our bass player’s parents’ shed. We got bored and we all played instruments in high school so we started mucking around with guitars, and doing covers.”
That was 2011 – seven years later the band have put forth two EPs and two full-length albums, amassing a groundswell of fans along the way.
While the surf-rock tag gets bounced around like a beach ball, the coastal feel, intended or not, is evident throughout. Mitch explained, “We all live close to the beach so it shines through in our music. We all surf, we enjoy fishing and kicking back in the sun. It’s there at a subconscious level… the ocean and that lifestyle helped the band form.”
Discussing the early days, Mitch says all six members experienced a variety of influences. “We listened to everything from old classic blues, Hendrix, Pink Floyd and a lot of reggae and roots music.”
“We’re already tinkering with new ideas for the next album,” says Mitch. “We think Chiaroscuro is the best record we've done, but we’ll definitely be looking to better it.”
Words: Jem Quin
With thanks to White Wash Magazine