After establishing their nu-metal tinged punk sound with their debut record ‘The Rhapsody Tapes’, Australia’s Ocean Grove have gone through a few changes since then.
From new members to headline tours, the group have channelled the experience and transformation into their sophomore full-length effort, ‘Flip Phone Fantasy’.
Kicking off with swirling synths and crushing riffs, ‘Superstar’ delivers a flurry of rapid-fire vocals and hooks. Focusing on the rapped vocals of Dale Tanner as he assumes the role of frontman, the track serves as a high-energy introduction to the group’s new line-up.
Flying straight into the punk led ‘Neo’, chunky riffs hinge on hammered drums as sliding lead melodies and altered vocal notes swim on top of the distortion. Delivering a crunching breakdown and abruptly ending, the group then move swiftly on to the sun drenched and catchy ‘Sense Again’.
Branching out with the use of Running Touch‘s sample work, ‘Thousand Golden People’ straddles rap rock verses and arena ready choruses. With a jittery sample weaving through the muscular groove riffs, the track melds together multiple sub genres to craft a sound that’s vibrant and signals the experimental second half of the record; from the Mad Capsule Markets influenced ‘Guys From The Gord’, delivering drum and bass driven floor fillers, to the acoustically driven ‘Baby Cobra’.
This isn’t to say that the group have completely gone left field, as both ‘Shimmer’ and ‘Ask For The Anthem’ show. The former boasts a wide chorus and strong melody work, courtesy of guitarist Matthew Henley, whilst the latter plays with rapped vocals and a N.E.R.D. style structure.
Picking up the energy towards the end of the record, ‘Junkie$’ stomps through foreboding samples and thick guitars as Sam Bassal delivers thunderous drum beats to propel the track towards the finish line.
With ‘Flip Phone Fantasy’, an unexpected maturity is found within Ocean Grove. Whilst the first half of the record delivers a bone-rattling run through of nu-metal grooves, punk attitude and post-grunge melody, the second half dives headfirst into unknown territory. Granted, the pacing may be a bit uneven, but the sophomore record for Ocean Grove charters untested water for the quintet.