(Reybee) "It is our first truly independent release, and the first record we did entirely on our own, in our own studios with some help from friends but no outside producer or engineer," says lead singer and songwriter David Schelzel of THE OCEAN BLUE about the wide re-release of their first post-major label album Davy Jones' Locker (release date: August 25 via Korda Records).
Davy Jones' Locker was initially released in 1999 by indie label March Records in a limited run. But that didn't prevent the legion of faithful fans who have been following the band since their inception in 1987 from elevating the release to mythic status. PopMatters said, "The band has returned in full style with Davy Jones' Locker... ethereal, delicate, shimmering, beautiful." Music Box quipped, "The Ocean Blue simply makes it work by building simple, supple melodies and dreamy atmospheres that swirl and surround."
Davy Jones' Locker was the band's first album after they left a successful major label run (they released three acclaimed albums on the legendary Sire Records, and another on PolyGram/Mercury) but it gave them the freedom to try new things. "It's definitely our most eclectic and least fussy record, where we were experimenting with different musical directions, sounds, arrangements and lyrical themes," explains David.
Playful, jangly, and gorgeously executed, the album is nestled perfectly in the band's catalog and the alternative realm of '80s legends like the Smiths and New Order, through the early Britpop of Blur, the LAs and The Trashcan Sinatras, while still sounding ahead of its time alongside modern compatriots like Cigarettes After Sex, Beach House, and Fontaines DC.
Anchored by the single "Denmark," which enjoys a brand new video released today, Davy Jones' Locker finds the band looking back circumspectly on their history. "The first line of the song is 'Like mist or a daydream, made of substance can you feel it?' and it begins a lyrical trip into musings about the past, the present moment, and the future direction of the band," explains David. The accompanying video (directed by Zeke Anders) captures the band at these figurative and literal crossroads. Set in an airport while images of the band - past and present - flash behind him, David recalls the creation of the song and how the video relates to it: "The setting of the song is the band's tour of Denmark which marked a turning point for us, as one of the founding members of the band left right after that tour and a current member joined us. The video does an amazing job of capturing all of these themes and moods. Better to see it than explain it."
Other highlights of the album include the jangly gem "Ayn," the carefree existential "Garden Song" ("it captures why connecting with and tending life in a garden grounds you, and gives you a good perspective on life"), the lovesick "Been Down a Lot Lately," and the haunting "Cake." On an album as diverse and consistently endearing which has always been a hallmark for the band, the tracks on Davy Jones' Locker indicated why the band has a fiercely loyal and fervent fanbase. "It boggles the mind, really," smiles David appreciatively. "I suppose it helps that we've stayed together, kept making music, and continue to show up. Our older, core fans, often talk about how our music has been an important part of their lives, especially their formative years, or has gotten them through a difficult experience."
A touchstone of the band's continued success is their embrace of their fanbase and their live shows, and how invested they are in them. With a tour in support of the re-release of Davy Jones' Locker, The Ocean Blue will be playing a host of shows kicking off on Labor Day weekend in Milwaukee, Chicago, and Minneapolis, and hitting cities such as Washington DC, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Houston, Miami and concluding in Phoenix on Nov. 18th. "This tour will certainly highlight Davy Jones' Locker, but our set will include many songs from other records," he explains. "We generally play a broad cross-section of our music, from the first record to the most recent. We often play a cover or two for fun." (complete list of tour dates below)
Getting their start as teenagers in the late '80s in Hershey, PA, The Ocean Blue released their self-titled debut on the famed Sire Records that launched many of their heroes in the U.S., like the Smiths, Echo & the Bunnymen, and the Pretenders. Embraced by MTV, the band quickly made their mark on the onset of the Alternative Music scene. Their early singles "Between Something And Nothing" and "Drifting, Falling" notched them Top Ten hits on College and Modern Rock radio, setting in motion their continued and firm grasp on alt-rock and dreampop. With eight albums under their belt (Sire/Rhino reissued their first three albums in 2015), the band continues to wield their songwriting prowess effortlessly with even more plans for the near future.
"We've started on a new album, and that will continue to be our focus until it is done. I'm not sure we will do another extensive tour like this fall before releasing new material, but we are looking at a few opportunities next year to play outside of the U.S., some festivals, and cities we haven't gotten to in recent years. We're grateful for all we've been able to do and excited about what lies ahead," concludes David.
The newly-remastered Davy Jones' Locker will be re-released on vinyl, CD and all streaming services on August 25 via Korda Records. The Ocean Blue is David Schelzel (vocals, guitar), Oed Ronne (guitar), Bobby Mittan (bass) and Peter Anderson (drums)