Album review: Ocean Grove – Up In The Air Forever

Aussie party starters Ocean Grove offer fun by the crate-load on album three…

Album review: Ocean Grove – Up In The Air Forever
Emma Wilkes

Welcome back to Oddworld. For the uninitiated, this is the sonic universe of fun-loving Aussies Ocean Grove, and they’re opening the doors to their sunny world once again for album three. There’s only one rule: if your face isn’t aching from smiling so much, you’re doing it wrong. Not that’s ever going to a be a problem for anyone bar the permanently grumpy – this is the sort of record that could evoke the joyous feelings of summer even if there’s frost on the grass outside.

With a slight irony for a band that used to pride itself on their sense of weirdness, Up In The Air Forever is really not that odd. What it is, though, is the trio’s most accessible and streamlined offering yet. They’ve ironed out the kinks from 2020’s Flip Phone Fantasy, a record where the weirdest moments were the most jarring, and instead put their minds to making big, fun, subtly eclectic tunes. And fuck, they’re catchy. The revving guitars and snotty social commentary of SEX DOPE GOLD and the stomping CALI SUN glitters with the thrill of the wildest kind of parties, while the grooving BUSTIN packs a simple but sharp hook that can lodge in the brain within two listens.

By the halfway point, a need does emerge for this band to push the envelope just a little more, but it's satisfied quickly with a flurry of flirtations with various other genres. There’s big-hearted, breezy Britpop in the form of SILVER LINING and swaggering nu-metal on SILENCE, but they’re at their bravest on HMU, a stylish fusion of rock and R&B with Lil Aaron adding a delicious ’90s flavour.

It’s the best showcase of Ocean Grove’s quirks to date, and they’ve got all the right to be bullish about it when playing it feels so, so good.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Turnstile, Hellions, Papa Roach

Up In The Air Forever is released April 22 via UNFD

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