Oceans, The - Garter Doll

And you thought rock was dead! Well, I did. Forget that stringy, guitar driven, Jet kind of crap (although good in small doses), I'm talking Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, Jane's Addiction, early Chilli Peppers rock ‘n' roll. And it's Australian! The Oceans have restored my faith with their new five track EP, Garter Doll.


Opening perfectly with the echoing line "hello, hello", the title track treats you to all facets of the band within a minute. The rolling, earthly sonic drum and bass combination, the melody accenting keys, truly unique vocals, and an actual lead guitar. It's all over too quickly as you're left with fingers tapping, lyrics swirling and desperately trying to pick who that voice reminds you of. Answer: Perry Farrell.


Things only get better with track two; Western Meditation. The mantra of "rhythm is our meditation/ rhythm brings divine/ rhythm is our occasion/ rhythm dance and wine" is impossible to remove from memory, as the song takes you from tribal African sounding worship, to en elegantly solemn guitar solo finish.


Open For Trade highlights Chris Owen's vocal strengths, sounding almost like a Perry Farrell and Thom Yorke love child. It also exhibits flawlessly the seamlessly alternating topline melodies between the synth and guitar. All the while those drum and bass lines build and dismantle the climaxes.


Black Lotus, the first single which has received national airplay, isn't my favourite. Although suited to radio, with its verse, chorus, verse structure, it's just a tad cheesier than the other four tracks. But then, cheese has its place, and I found myself turning it up as loud as my little matchbox car allows driving down the freeway.


Closing with Karma Then, I'm surprised at the lack of "filler" on the EP. The sing-along "ba da da mm da daa da da" is another to get stuck in your head and have you playing air drums around the house. The piano driven bridge is simply beautiful, and the power guitar finish not overdone at all. Unbelievable until the very end, I just can't speak highly enough of this release.


Here's hoping the boys are all mates, and will be making music for a bloody long time to come. Here's also hoping they get every bit of fame and credit they deserve. A final hope too, that this is a sign of the return to real rock within the Australian music scene, and may it all be of this calibre.

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