Across six albums (over just as many years) Melbourne-via-Wagga sextet, the Ocean Party, have developed a unique sound of upbeat indie-pop that steers towards a frank and unsettling darker side.
Seventh instalment, Beauty Point, further builds on this foundation as the often-disarmingly blunt, economical lyrics serve as stepping stones across a canvas of sprawling synths and a more stable underbelly of guitar-rock and punchy rhythmic urgency. The mostly-poignant one-liners leap to prominence sporadically, a similar random scatter followed by the occasional sax injection that pops up unannounced alongside more dramatic piano plods.
While as a whole Beauty Point remains in-line with the band's now-defined style, there is — despite once more all six members contributing to the songwriting — a considerably more inward perspective than previous efforts.
The woes of quarter-life crisises ("ups and downs, you know, more of the same, old age") is a reoccurring thematic focus, sitting alongside stabs of self-depreciation ("I've got no discipline") and unsettling personal stocktakes ("I don't believe in anything"), all showing an effort to somewhat mask the far-subtler statements on social issues, where the band size up everything from housing affordability out in the "decay of the suburbs" to belonging ("this town made me") to national identity ("human rights go out the door, salute the flag").
Beauty Point is an album that explores both flexibly interpretable, broad-stroked, borderline-expressionless statements and sweating all the small stuff that surrounds our search for who we are and where we wanna be. It's an album where vast landscapes of heartland-bound open roads are presented solely as mirages, simply wall-hung stock-paintings in the living room of the weatherboard, quarter-acre suburban manor where this album belongs, the perfect place to reflect on all that exists beyond.
Beauty Point is out August 18th via Spunk Records, and exclusively available to stream in full from today via Rolling Stone Australia:
The Ocean Party kick off their national tour in support of the new album this weekend, with a mix of regional and metropolitan gigs through until September, as well as pair of shows planned for early-November.
The Ocean Party 'Beauty Point' Tour
Friday, August 18th: Thyme To Taste, Yass
Saturday, August 19th: Volumes Festival, Sydney
Sunday, August 20th: Lower Coast Road, Stanwell Park
Monday, August 21st: The Phoenix, Canberra
Tuesday, August 22nd: Music Farmers, Wollongong
Wednesday, August 23rd: Wild Years, Thirroul
Thursday, August 24th: The Federal Hotel, Bellingen
Friday, August 25th: Humdrum Espresso, Eumundi
Saturday, August 26th: Sonic Sherpa Records, Brisbane
Thursday, August 31st: The Rec Room, Townsville
Friday, September 1st: The Conservatory Bar, Cairns
Saturday, September 2nd: Langsfords Hotel, Mackay
Wednesday, September 6th: Monte's, Alice Springs
Friday, September 8th: The Metro, Adelaide
Saturday, September 9th: Major Toms, Kyneton
Sunday, September 10th: TBA, Ballarat
Saturday, September 16th: The Pinnacle, Melbourne*
Saturday, November 4th: The Pinnacle, Melbourne
Sunday, November 5th: The Birdhouse, Wagga Wagga
* Co-launch with Emma Russack
Topics: The Ocean Party