Album Review: Ocean Carolina – Maudlin Days (2015 LP)

It’s easy to assume that all bands start off with an influence of some sort. Whether it’s from the music they grew up listening to or the people that have influenced them to start their own band, there is no conventional way of making music; you simply do it because you love it. Carrying over his expertise, frontman of Ocean Carolina, Michael Simone has had a myriad of opportunities to showcase his talents before the band’s inception. Together with Simone’s work in the EDM industry, what his band has produced is an album that offers an Americana feel – something that warms the heart with its honest way of making you feel like you can breathe the fresh air of the countryside. With Maudlin Days, they take you on a journey of something unique that thrives on its gentle simplicity.

Having reviewed Dawes’ All Your Favorite Bands a few months ago, it came to my attention that Maudlin Days evoked something similar. The record has its way of keeping you calm and serene and would be something that could take away the natural chaos life has to offer. Music is very empowering for many people and to have that opportunity to spin a record that takes your stresses away is a bonus. Each time you spin this record, you feel like you’re on a jet plane, among the clouds while soaring above new heights.

Opener “All I Can Do” resonates this feeling with its soft rock elements – an escapade from reality and a thirst of travel. Simone’s vocals mold so well together with the music that you can tell the passion and input this band has provided for this record. “Cry Baby Cry” is a heartbreaking track and yearns for something more. A story of distance between two lovers that have lost its spark – almost like seeing a rose quickly evaporate from its life. Beyond that, the Americana feel to this song makes it comforting to get through as the instrumentation has a way of just making it less melancholic through the guitar work. Ocean Carolina make their mark by producing a record that makes you recollect past memories, giving you this feeling of clarity to take things easy.

Although the entire record is a cohesive body of work, Ocean Carolina lack experimentation and stay in their zone of comfort and relaxation. Tracks like “Nobody Wants To Cry” and “Don’t Carry On” put away the attention of the actual music, making it easy for listeners to zone out and not truly pay attention.

It also creates this lull period where the record feels longer than it should be through the use of its soft rock and Americana vibes. Even though this is the case, this album showcases something unique to the table and a sound influence that is very rare from rock bands in this day and age.

Comparatively, the record picks up again towards the end with lovely numbers such as “Summersmile” and “Little Things” which are both quite fitting for a drive down into the sunset. Both are a lot more upbeat in comparison to some tracks off the record.

Ocean Carolina are a refreshing band to listen to. With their Americana take to their music, it’s impressive to see a modern day version of The Eagles. They may not be at the stage of popularity yet but they come close to it.

Review Score: 7.5 out of 10

Maudlin Days is available now


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