Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Ocean Blue at the Mercury Lounge

The members of the Ocean Blue first met in junior high school in Hershey, Pennsylvania. In 1986, they formed a pop band that combined melodic guitars and synthesizers. The Ocean Blue's members were just teenagers and still in high school when they signed a three-album deal in 1988. Since those early days, the band recorded six albums (Ultramarine, the band’s first album in 14 years, was released on March 19). Its current line-up includes original members David Schelzel on lead vocals/guitar and Bobby Mittan on bass guitar, and later additions Oed Ronne on keyboards/guitar/vocals and Peter Anderson on drums.

Returning to the Mercury Lounge (the band first played the room in 2000), the Ocean Blue was met by longtime friends and fans. The band's set included songs from the first albums as well as new songs. Although it was the same room, it was a new environment only because so much has changed in the music world. Ocean Blue’s jangly guitar-based sound, which recalled the Smiths, New Order, the Cocteau Twins, R.E.M. and Echo & the Bunnymen, sounded amazingly indie. Schelzel’s soft and fluttering vocal melodies evoked sentimentality and a romantic optimism. Ronne’s chimey guitar work shimmered gracefully to complement the vocal lines. With the right exposure, Ocean Blue might gain a whole new audience.