New York based band Ocean Carolina have released their sophomore album Maudlin Days. A heart-felt, deep-cutting 12 tracks of percussive Americana. At the centre of the band’s creativity is Michael Simone, a former EDM producer who decided to enter a more authentic genre of music. It’s a transition that would normally raise a few eyebrows. The two genres couldn’t be more parallel. Michael Simone has, however, produced a pleasantly surprising record.
The record is produced by Jon Graboff, a member of Ryan Adams’ Cardinals. Ryan Adams incidentally is the first comparison that springs to mind. Raw sounding, vulnerable vocals channel the Nashville artist who recently released a captivating Smiths-esque take on Taylor Swifts 1989. Maudlin Days is sensitive, though – less Morrissey, and a more iridescent Neil Young.
Care and relaxed precision appears to flow from each melody, like pouring Merlot with gentle glugs in front of an autumn fire. Autumn being the pallet that the record paints, ‘Once You’ve Done Me Wrong’ is a simplistic chord progression that creates a delinquent walk in a picturesque New York City park, with terracotta leaves littering the path. The gentle rhythm guitar creates a neatly finished garnish on the track. While the record has well-orchestrated melodies, the sentimental vocals are the main feature. It’s a refreshing sound that will wash over your iTunes. The album would even look great in a vinyl collection. It certainly has an old style of music presence where each song leads neatly leads into the next like an unravelling story. Moreover, like with many vinyl the turning of the record to the B-side would be an enjoyable experience for the listener.
It would be unfair to pigeon hole this record as alternative country. ‘Summersmile’ resonates an uplifting feel like Noel Gallagher’s brit pop anthem ‘Stop Crying Your Heart Out’ with its open chord structure. ‘Don’t Carry On’ sounds like the type of soothing lullaby Dave Grohl would play to his children at night. It’s no doubt got a heartland rock sound, but all in good measure amongst other themes. Englishman Chris Buckle’s work on guitar endeavours a 70’s Clapton influence. ‘Don’t Carry On’ is a prime example where Simone utilises nature in his body of song writing “when the wind calls my name / Let your heart do the same”.
It’s very rare in music you come across a simple record that is produced so cleanly. Production-light instrumentals and sensitive song lyrics leaves you attached to each track. Michael Simone has masterminded a wonderful 12 tracks of sentimentality.
Buy the record here on iTunes
Words by Aaron Spencer