The Ocean Blue‘s debut record on the famed Sire Records
label in 1989 achieved widespread acclaim and radio
airplay. The band of four young high schoolers from Hershey, Pennsylvania
went on to do two more well-received records for Sire, the atmospheric Cerulean
and alt pop Beneath the Rhythm and Sound
, and a fourth record for Mercury/PolyGram, See The Ocean Blue
, before leaving the majors in the late 90s. The band did several independent releases in the 2000s, including Davy Jones Locker
and within the last several years began working on a new full length
record, their first in over 10 years. That record, entitled Ultramarine
, is out now on Korda Records
, a new Minneapolis cooperative label that the band helped launch in late 2012.
is a spectacular return to form that recalls the band’s earliest work, and should appeal to fans old and new alike.
On the title, singer/songwriter David Schelzel explains, "We chose Ultramarine
to reflect several things. The mood of this record is a little blue, and harkens back to our other "blue" record, Cerulean
It's also a fun play on our name, and we were very conscious of our
history as a band making this record. Thinking about our music, what
it's meant to us and others. Asking a lot of existential questions
about the band, what it was, is, and could be in the future."
was recorded in Minneapolis, MN, Portland, OR, and Mt Gretna, PA
over several years, with Schelzel and drummer Peter Anderson producing.
"This record unfolded in slow motion,” says Schelzel, “At a glacial
pace. We were not on the clock we were when we were on the major
labels. And we were not in an insulated studio world for months making
the music. We made it mostly in our own studios, on our own time.
Regular life drifted into this one more than our earlier records.”
Music recording and distribution, and the social networks of the Web
have changed the landscape completely since the band’s last full
length. Says Anderson, “We are using gear
on the recording side that for the most part didn’t exist when the band was making big budget studio
records in the 90s. It’s allowed us to do a lot of things we’d never
been able to do years ago, all at a much cheaper cost. We also have the
ability to connect with people directly via the Web that wasn’t really
there when we did our last release."
Musically, the new record is a return to form for the band. As well as a new beginning. Lyrically it is romantic
The melodic singing, chimey guitars and lush keyboards the band is
known for weave their way through the songs. Even the saxophone has
returned on the opening track. But it is a record full of music that
sounds very of the moment.
"It's an interesting time for us to be putting out a new record. So much of the music we see and hear now
reminds me of things I loved growing up
say guitarist Oed Ronne. "My friends in their twenties like The Smiths
and New Order. It's a strange thing, but good for us I think. We'd love
to reconnect with our old fans, but also make new ones among the ranks
of the young."
"I'm really looking forward to sharing this new music with people who
know us and people who’ve never heard us before. And play some shows
," says bass player Bobby Mittan. "It's been way too long."
Praise for Ultramarine
"Ultramarine isn't just a return to
form; it's one of The Ocean Blue's best albums
- All Music
12 songs on Ultramarine recall the sincere clarity of the band's
self-titled 1989 debut and 1991's Cerulean with songs that soar with
grace, blend cascading guitars and rich keyboards with lyrics that
manage to evoke sentimentality, optimism and an appropriate romantic
longing without being cloying or grating.
- The Huffington Post
Ocean Blue returns with a new album, Ultramarine (four and 1/2 stars
out of five). It is a true return to form for fans of their two biggest
albums while providing a perfect entry point for fans of
heartbreakingly gorgeous, shimmering guitar pop...
- Pop Dose
"It's fresh but also sounds like
beautiful, vintage Ocean Blue.
- USA Today