Album Review: Ocean Grove - The Rhapsody Tapes


“Standing on the precipice of what is, and what may be”. This standout quote, from first track “What I love about a natural woman” and featured on the back of the lyric booklet of “The Rhapsody Tapes”, debut album by Ocean Grove, is an accurate representation of where the band currently finds themselves. Based in Melbourne, their selfdescribed ‘odd world music’ combines a mixture of heavy metal, hardcore, screamo and even a few electronic dance beats just to keep things interesting. Ocean Grove are more than just your average band and they take their music and art quite seriously. This is evident in the creation that is the Rhapsody Manifesto.

Described as “an agreement between the Ocean Grove artistic collective & the not so odd world” it serves as a kind of introduction or forewarning to “The Rhapsody Tapes” that outlines their policies and promises to themselves and their fans. The opening paragraph states: “if you’re consuming our art with any pre-conceived notions or expectations of how it should be presented then you will find yourself extremely disappointed; we would rather fade into obscurity and die out than live prosperously in a pigeonhole of mediocrity”. You have been warned.

For those who have had their curiosity spiked, the rhapsody manifesto can be read in its entirety here:

The album’s first single “These Boys Light Fires” is catchy as hell and it’s no wonder that it has already caught the attention of Aussie alternative radio station, Triple J. this track is getting air time daily and “The Rhapsody Tapes” has been a featured album on the station. 

“Beers” is a fast paced, in your face, no nonsense track and one of my personal favourites on the album. I’ve always been impressed by artists who have the ability to scream their lyrics and still make it sound incredible and front man Luke Holmes has done just that. As much as this style of music is certainly not for everyone, you can’t deny the vocal ability that is required to create this kind of sound. “The wrong way” also showcases Holmes’ vocal range and versatility. Musically, it’s almost reminiscent of late 90’s Limp Bizkit track, ‘My Way’ but at the same time is a standout Ocean Grove creation. The lyrics are simple, but still have a deep meaning for those who can relate “I was born with my head around the wrong way/both eyes always on what’s behind me”. 

Just when you thought you knew what you were getting into, “Slow soap soak” has an almost reggae feel to it, while “From Dalight” sounds like it’s straight out of a horror movie and has a really weird and creepy sound (in a good way), with just a touch of a dance beat added to it to completely throw you off. “Intimate alien” is heavy as fuck and is your new go to song for when you’re in a really bad mood and all you want to do is throw on some loud and angry music to drown everything out for a while. Extra points if you can scream along. 

The sounds on “Stratosphere love” sound like a mashup of the Static X, Disturbed and Linkin Park songs which featured on the soundtrack for the popular early 2000’s vampire film “Queen of the Damned”. The closing track, “Hitachi” is pretty chilled and will leave you wanting more. 

Not being familiar with Ocean Grove’s sound, I didn’t really know what to expect from this album, but I think that’s kind of the point. The band has produced a stand out debut album, and should be proud of what they have achieved. The songs sound familiar and safe, while still being completely new and different and unlike anything you have heard before. I look forward to seeing the direction they take with their next record, but until then, I will be cranking “The Rhapsody Tapes” on max volume until my neighbours start to complain.

Reviewed by: Amber Eccles

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Glenn van den Bosch Glenn van den Bosch
25-02-2017 4 mins read
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