Easily Accessible Britrock

The impression I have of Ocean Colour Scene is one of a band whose name is recognized by everybody, but beyond that the band are an enigma. A few singles are equally as well known as the band’s name, ‘The Day We Caught The Train’, for instance, but I get the impression that the rest of their material is either instantly forgotten, or never heard in the first place by anybody other than the hardcore of fans that every band accumulates. Despite this, Ocean Colour Scene have been around for more than ten years, and this compilation of live performances from the summer of 2004 shows how and why.

"One For The Road" sounds like a group of imaginative brit-rockers doing precisely what they love to and doing so with class and style. Ocean Colour Scene truly do rock. It would perhaps have been nice to hear an entire live show, rather than a cut-and-paste affair from multiple shows, as I find that the live atmosphere tends to be recreated more consistently and accurately when a whole show is released. My main complaint with live releases in general is that too many bands don’t offer any incentive to buy their live shows. So many performers just play their songs; there’s nothing between songs except maybe a ‘thankyou’ or a ‘this next song is…’, the songs are too faithful to the recordings, there’s no improvisation or just playing music.. Live music should be more than a reproduction of recorded music in a live environment, and I find that the most enjoyable live shows to hear on CD are those in which the band make an effort to do something different. Unfortunately, Ocean Colour Scene don’t do a whole lot more than play their songs. There’s minimal communication with the audience, and nothing that jumps out as special, quirky or different.

The songs are played accurately, no complaint can be made about the material. The anthemic sing-alongs are interspersed with the more majestic songs, but all the while the dual-guitar rock and roll attack is there. The vocals are powerful, in tune and involving, fighting with the guitars for the listener’s attention. This is easily accessible britrock, built to appeal to fans and non-fans alike, and I believe that "One For The Road" will prove a successful release for Ocean Colour Scene.