Ocean Alley @ The Enmore Theatre, Sydney NSW Australia 18/04/2018 written by Brendan Lewis.

Tonight, we go on a tour of the Ocean Alley musical art gallery! On display are pieces from the bands’ new captivating album of light and dark elements ‘Chiaroscuro’, which portrays the characteristics of the renaissance art technique itself. We will also be introduced pieces from the bands’ back-catalogue featuring fancy art terms I’m only still looking up on Google and am probably way too blind to guide you through….. Yet somehow you’re still taking this tour lead by me.

*Please gather around the ravishingly handsome blind guy and turn off all phones and bank account security, the tour will commence shortly*...

Ocean Alley start their exhibit off with ‘Corduroy’. This piece brings a spacey mystical essence at the start, creeping up to a bold and dramatic vibe, full of expressive emotion like a classic Van Gogh painting, with Bayden’s sharp brush-stroke vocal melodies. The mix of sound is comfortably even and well mixed, however the strong reverberation effect on Bayden’s vocals mixed with the audience around me’s inability to SHUT UP, makes it a strain to enjoy the vocals as intended.

Moving along, the next two pieces from Ocean Alley are ‘The Comedown’ followed by ‘Hold On’ separated by a quick chat from the band, to keep the audience focused and engaged. ‘The Comedown’ display’s an easy on the palate appeal, with a laid back texture with pure, rich clear vocals sitting perfectly in the mix like a pastel painting. This gets the audience around me singing along to every word as if this song were a classic, and despite the surprising lack of on-stage energy from the band as yet, especially after the colourful energetic hype left from the supporting artists before them plus the laid-back musical-vibe, the crowd are becoming quite rowdy and irritating. ‘Hold On’ accentuates the energy dramatically, with a nice blend of jazz piano splashes, with reggae bass lines and abstract drum beats differing throughout the song keeping things colourful all throughout the song. The addition of dual-layer vocals mixed beautifully together to form a unique colour, adds a nice tone to lift the choruses to the forefront of attention.

Moving along to the next section of musical paintings, we gaze upon the next four pieces from the band ‘Muddy Water’, ‘Knees’, ‘Stripes In My Mind’ and ‘Feel’. First up on the left with ‘Muddy Water’ the tone portrays a dark angsty grunge feeling, accompanied by sharp biting powerful vocals that snap up attention. The way the the well-mixed blend of sounds stand out and give off a bold dramatic aura, is classic of a Van Gogh masterpiece, and thus raises the excitement and positivity in the gallery tonight.

This next piece will likely bring you to your Knees, with it’s exquisite vocal hooks and smooth delicate, nostalgic musical touch in an uplifting major-key tone. The energy in the gallery/crowd for this song is lifted dramatically, with the crowd all pushing and getting quite rowdy, to the point of crowd surfers emerging over-head in the songs’ build up and thickening of layers near its’ end. The blend of blues swirling together to create a new element like the key elements of a water-painting, and makes me assume that this piece is in a way-too commonly used and stereotypically used C-major key. If so, this piece is far from stereotypical and common however, as it’s subtle yet distinct colours mixed together, powerful vocal hooks and all building up in dynamics, gives off a tactile element that you can feel within yourself like a Mosaic piece.

'Stripes In My Mind’ displays key characteristics of a classic Da Vinci piece, using layers of funk and Reggae with it’s alluring funky bass line and rhythm, plus rock with climactic edgy vocals and guitar riffs, to emulate a sense of unity between each element. The band raise their on-stage aesthetic energy (because we all know I’m all about the aesthetics), as they all move around the stage like brush strokes binding the elements together, and moving up close to the front of the stage, bringing the energy closer to the audience.

‘Stripes In My Mind’ finishes with a big bold build up to explode in a vast spectrum of rocking out colours from the band, which cleverly flows into ‘Feel’. This song with it’s anthemic essence with vocal hooks, mid-tempo intricate beats and lead singer Bayden moving around the stage in high-spirits gets the crowd highly charged and raising their arms in accordance to the new precedence of energy. This piece depicts the characteristics of Impressionism from the band throughout the set I feel, as it emphasises the accurate depiction of light in it’s ever-changing qualities and especially in pieces like this, brings the vocal qualities to the forefront of attention.

Oh would you look at the time and word count, we’re running out of time on this tour, so, for the rest of this set we are enticed and treated to pieces like the abstract ‘Yellow Mellow’, breaking away from traditional representations of reggae, rock, funk and blues and brings them all to a modern light. The Van Gogh qualities of ‘Overgrown’ with its’ bold and dynamic changing tempo’s from verses to choruses to portray emotion and thought. The normally bright pastel vibrancy of ‘Holiday’ which is renditioned as a guitar solo from lead singer Bayden, which makes it abstract as it breaks-away from the traditional representation of the piece. The ever-popular Da Vinci piece ‘Confidence’, displaying key layers of reggae, soul and rock to create a sense of unity and strength, especially with it’s strong dynamics building up in the bridge section. And finally, the vibrant and uplifting pastel funk/jazz-rock colours of ‘Flowers And Booz’, ending the tour on a high. All these songs though being classic of one style of painting to another, all share unique qualities of styles of varying sorts, and the energy from the band may have taken a bit of time to emerge, but we’ve definitely got there now!

…...Oh, you’re still here? The tour’s over, yep, no more…. Go home…. You want more? Oh, ok, I suppose there’s two more pieces that we could visit.

The band re-emerge onto the stage to a booming chorus of cheering fans, thank us once again, then give us two more palate cleansers, ‘Rage’ and ‘Happy/Sad’. ‘Rage’ gives a vintage rock essence, yet in a contemporary today-relevant light, with distinct impressionism, as it emphasises the light of the songs in its’ changing qualities. Finally, ‘Happy/Sad’ is a quintessential Chiaroscuro piece, in how it blends both light and dark elements together with both major and minor tone chords, both mellow and angsty feelings and both soft and sharp vocals. The diversity and extraordinary essence of the song is brought forth even more, with an explosion of confetti at the start of the first chorus, showering me and everyone around me in vibrant musical and literal colours… I did not see that coming in any way shape or form. The song may be quintessentially Chiaroscuro, but the energy and buzzing atmosphere around me is very much reflective of Van Gogh elements (bold and dynamic) which makes this a brilliant finish to this tour of musical art!

“What are your thoughts on this tour sir?” I rather enjoyed it, it started off a bit slow in it’s atmosphere, but when it built up it didn’t slow down or disappoint. I really enjoyed all the different art elements of the show, giving contrast and diversity to the set, and all flowing nicely and presented beautifully by the artists and their sound mixer! “Would you take this tour again and/or recommend it to others?” Most definitely! These guys are growing in popularity rapidly and rightly so, tickets are already hot property for these shows so I would definitely advise snapping up your own when you can, I know I will!