With the ongoing pandemic, it might be hard for you to make your way down to the beach to enjoy the sun, but what if there was a way to bring the beach to you? It might seem impossible, but Australian rockers Ocean Alley are going to do their best with 12 new tracks reminiscent of the style of the 1970’s mixed with a little bit of surfer rock. Their third album, Lonely Diamond, hits the shelves on June 19, 2020 via UNFD.
The album begins with “Dahlia”, an instrumental track that starts out almost intergalactic-sounding and transitions into a sort of funky, jazzy groove session. The first track with vocals on it, “Tombstone” immediately sets the tone for the rest of the album. From the bluesy vocals to the relaxed guitar, this track would sound right at home being played at some beachside bar.
“Way Down” is the listener’s first taste of that not-quite-1970s vibe. It opens with a catchy guitar riff that is a constant for the rest of the song. While the vocals were bluesy and soulful on the second track, vocalist Baden Donegal throws a touch of rock and roll into his voice for this one.
“Infinity” follows up with the surfer rock sound that’s been present in the previous tracks, but still maintains its individuality. I definitely found myself humming and bopping along on my first (and second, and third) listen-through, and I especially loved the little groove session that acts as the outro!
“Up In There” starts out in a completely different way than the first few tracks. Did someone say jazz? It’s not quite a power ballad and it’s not quite the surfer rock that has been present in the previous songs, but rather a foray into a totally different genre. As everyone knows, I’m a sucker for a band that likes to play with genre, so this was a welcome surprise on the album.
“All Worn Out” follows suit, giving listeners more of the not-rock/not-jazz sound present on the previous track, but to a little more of an extreme. We’ve gone from a bustling beachside bar to a low-key jazz club in New York City, and if this song doesn’t make you want to sway back and forth to the beat I’m not sure what will. The piano and the saxophone on this really stuck with me, and I found myself coming back to this song just to hear them.
“Stained Glass” whisks us back to that beachside bar that we started the album at and back to the chill-sounding guitar riffs, laid-back vocals and steady rhythm section. The style changes slightly about halfway through, going from the surfer rock that I’ve become familiar with to a heavier, rockier section before seamlessly transitioning back like nothing out of the ordinary happened.
“Lonely Diamond” takes listeners back to a style that’s reminiscent of some of the more popular rock bands of the 1970s. It’s not as upbeat as some of the other tracks on the album, but isn’t quite as laid back as “Up In There” or “All Worn Out.” The title track stands out from all other songs on the effort in the best way, and it’s not hard to see why this is the album’s namesake.
“Wet Dreams” stays within the realm of that 1970s vibe, offering a slight twist. Where other tracks were obviously rock-inspired, this one offers listeners a groovy bass line that will immediately have you hooked. Pre-released single “Hot Chicken” gives listeners more of the surfer rock that seems to be an album staple. I absolutely love the guitar riffs in this song, and given the vibey bass line and overall super catchy nature, it’s no wonder it was chosen as a single.
“Puesta de Sol” features some of the heaviest lyrics on the album. Paired with Donegal’s sultry voice and presented over a calm beat, I found myself conflicted as to what emotion to feel for the entirety of this song, but in the best way possible. This track is, both lyrically and sonically, my favorite on the album.
Similar to the opening track, Lonely Diamond closes out with a completely vocal-free song with “Luna,” allowing the listener to sit back and appreciate the guitar riffs, bass lines and drum beats that make this album what it is.
From house parties on the shores of Sydney, Australia, to playing festivals all over Europe and the USA, it’s no secret how Ocean Alley have managed to capture the ears of the world after listening to this album. Released just in time for summer, Lonely Diamond is sure to be the soundtrack to your (socially-distant) beach days.