COLOUR SCENE Celebrate 21st Birthday With New Album "Saturday"
~ Play Gigs in Dublin & Belfast
March 6th, 2010 - DUBLIN - Olympia Theatre
March 7th, 2010 - BELFAST - Mandella Hall
emperors of rock’n’folk Ocean Colour Scene
have announced that they will be releasing a new album, Saturday,
on 1st February 2010, which will be preceded by a digital single,
Magic Carpet Days on 25th January.
OCS, who will be celebrating their 21st anniversary
next year, have clocked up an impressive eleven Top 20 singles and
five Top 10 albums during their illustrious career. Saturday,
their ninth studio album, was recorded over six weeks last summer
at the iconic Rockfield studios in South Wales with producer Gavin
Monaghan (Editors/ the Twang), and finds them as vibrantly tuneful
as they’ve ever been.
From the opening bars of psych-folk opener ‘100 Floors
Of Perception’ - written by Simon about the on-going
financial crisis - to epic climax ‘Rockfield’
(think ‘Baba O’Riley’ meets ‘Tomorrow Never
Knows’), it’s a reminder than when it comes to delivering
classic rock hooks there is simply no one better. Denim-driven boogie
‘Old Pair Of Jeans’ (written by Bennett)
will delight those hankering for the full-tilt mod-pop of ‘For
Dancers Only’, while Harry Kidnap’ (written
in tribute to John Weller) boasts shades of North Atlantic Drift
stand-out ‘Make The Deal’. The single,
‘Magic Carpet Days’, meanwhile (key
lyric: “The world won’t shake you/Knock you down and
break you/I’ll steer you through these magic carpet days”)
is a reminder that their belief in the Mod aesthetic of self-improvement
remains as strong as ever.
OCS are renowned for their live performances, and
stole the show at this year’s V, where they were named ‘Band
Of The Festival’ by BBC Radio 2 and Absolute Radio.
In February and March 2010, the band will be undertaking a 24 date
UK & Ireland tour.
Available on CD and as a digital download, the full tracklisting
is as follows :
1. 100 Floors Of Perception
2. Mrs Maylie
4. Just A Little Bit Of Love
5. Old Pair Of Jeans
6. Sing Children Sing
7. Harry Kidnap
8. Magic Carpet Days
9. The Word
12.What’s Mine Is Yours
13. Fell In Love On The Street Again
bring great tidings. Birmingham’s emperors of rock’n’folk
Ocean Colour Scene are back with their ninth studio album, entitled "Saturday".
In the two years since 2007’s On The Leyline – described by
Uncut as their “career best” – they’ve played
with thrash metal bands in Korea, stolen the show at this year’s
‘V’ (where they were named ‘Band Of The Festival’
by Radio 2 and Absolute Radio) and later this month will jet off for a
debut show in Dubai.
In between times, guitarist Steve Cradock has released acclaimed solo
debut The Kundalini Target, and played a key role in Paul Weller 22 Dreams,
while Simon Fowler’s plans to record a solo album inspired by Sandy
Denny and Bert Jansch with acclaimed folk musician John McCusker were
only scuppered by an invitation to tour the world with Mark Knopfler (for
John, not Simon).
All of which serves as reminder that, as they approach their 21st anniversary
together, OCS remain as sincere and passionate about music as they were
when this writer first bumped into them on early ‘90’s TV
show The Word promoting debut single ‘Sway’. Back then, with
their Breton shirts and Beat Club haircuts, they were at the vanguard
of a new generation of bands determined to shake off ‘80’s
miserablism and get, well, a piece of the action.
Little did anyone know that by the release of their second album Moseley
Shoals in April 1996, OCS would be bonafide rock stars, their intuitive
grasp of pop dynamics on hits like The Riverboat Song and The Day We Caught
The Train leaving an indelible print on the zeitgeist (Moseley Shoals
stayed on the charts for eighteen months). Follow up Marchin’ Already
(released in September 1997) even knocked Oasis’ Be Here Now off
the top spot, prompting Noel Gallagher to send the band a plaque engraved
with the inscription: ‘To The Second Best Band In Britain’.
If triumphant appearances at Knebworth and their own sold-out tours (their
1998 arena tour was the biggest by any U.K band that year) have ensured
their history has become intertwined with Britpop, the band’s innate
ability to craft a tune has guaranteed them a longevity only matched by
Primal Scream and fellow Midlanders, The Charlatans.
Any turbulence experienced in the wake of original bassist Damon Minchella’s
departure in 2003, meanwhile, has been countered by the astute recruitment
of guitarist Andy Bennett and bassist Dan Sealey, both of whom contribute
songs to Saturday.
“We’ve always been the sort of band who like to share our
ideas,” explains Steve. “I remember Ian Brown saying that
what spoiled it for him with The Roses was that John Squire would bring
songs in fully formed. It keeps things exciting knowing that everybody
is bringing something to the table. That working relationship gels a band
together, it’s a collaborative spirit.”
Put it down, then, to re-charged batteries or the confidence which comes
from having a settled line-up, but Saturday finds the band as vibrantly
tuneful as they’ve ever been. Recorded over six weeks last Summer
at the iconic Rockfield studios in South Wales with producer Gavin Monaghan
(Editors/ the Twang), it’s a return to the barnstorming OCS of yore.
“Gavin was keen to make a classic OCS record,” says Steve.
“That gave us a direction for where we wanted the album to go. We
did some demos at his studio which meant we had most of the songs ready
before we headed for Rockfield.”
From the opening bars of psych-folk opener ‘100 Floors Of Perception’
- written by Simon about the on-going financial crisis - to epic climax
‘Rockfield’ (think ‘Baba O’Riley’ meets
‘Tomorrow Never Knows’), it’s a reminder than when it
comes to delivering classic rock hooks there is simply no one better.
Denim-driven boogie ‘Old Pair Of Jeans’ (written by Bennett)
will delight those hankering for the full-tilt mod-pop of ‘For Dancers
Only’, while Harry Kidnap’ (written in tribute to John Weller)
boasts shades of North Atlantic Drift stand-out ‘Make The Deal’.
Lyrical themes ranging from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist (‘Mrs
Maylie’) to the British way of life ( standout ‘Village Life’),
meanwhile, are a reminder of Simon’s acute observational eye.
“I live in a small village in the Cotswolds which has a few local
pubs, a village green and an acupuncturist - there’s even a Maypole,”
he explains. “I tend to write the lyrics while out walking, so you
naturally take in what’s around you. It’s the sort of place
where everybody knows how many pints you had last night. Which can be
good or bad, of course. But I love it.”
Musically, it’s just as impressive. Listen close and you’ll
hear echoes of everyone from Simon & Garfunkel to Mott The Hoople
and Vivaldi in these loose-limbed grooves, not to mention trippy string
sections, sky-scraping ‘Great Gig In The Sky’ backing vocals,
punk riffs and even the occasional burst of mandolin.
“I had a little battery operated record player in my room while
we were recording” says Steve. “I’d listen to everything
from classical stuff to Eastern European folk music. Then I’d go
into the studio in a pissed stupor and play a punk song like ‘Postal’!”
Surefire smash ‘Magic Carpet Days’, meanwhile (key lyric:
“The world won’t shake you/Knock you down and break you/I’ll
steer you through these magic carpet days”) is a reminder that their
belief in the Mod aesthetic of self-improvement remains as strong as ever.
“I think that’s how you’ve got to look at life when
you’re 44,” grins Simon. “We’re not getting any
younger, but that enthusiasm will never leave us I don’t think.
Especially when we’ve got a few glasses of pop inside us.”
If the album’s working title - Blue Sky Drinking - tells you something
of Saturday’s feel-good spirit, it’s also proof that even
as the reach the age of maturity, OCS aren’t prepared to grow up
“Me and Steve are very different in many respects, but we do both
like laughing a lot,” adds Simon. “And that’s what keeps
us having fun. It’s our 21st year in 2010 so we want to get out
there and remind people we’re still here.”
With a full tour booked for 2010, OCS will be celebrating in style.
In the meantime, they’ll see you on Saturday.
Saturday will be released on Cooking Vinyl on 1st February 2010
London, October ‘09