Hello everyone and welcome to my first CD review of the year, “Is” by Vancouver’s own Hey Ocean! The album is not officially out yet, but I bought it at their show and could not help but do a review. I started listening to Hey Ocean! during the 2010 Olympics when I saw them at a couple of free shows. I instantly fell in love with Ashleigh Ball’s beautiful voice and the band’s amazing stage presence. Hey Ocean!’s previous work is a mix of folk, and a bit of jazz. The band’s new album is definitely a well crafted pop album.
The opening track “If I Were a Ship” starts off with the haunting sound of flute, then takes you away to a Hawaiian island. The next 2 tracks are the first 2 songs the were released off the album. “Make a New Dance Up” and “Big Blue Wave” are both upbeat and fun, and definitely some of the most catchy stuff I have heard in a long time. Hey Ocean! are definitely one of those bands that have the power to transport you somewhere else and the song “Islands” does just that. Sung mostly by guitarist David Beckingham this haunting track includes beautiful flute and vocal harmonies. One of the coolest things about Hey Ocean! is that there is not just 1 lead singer, but all 3 members have the talent to take over lead vocal duties. The songs “Jolene” and “Give” features the deep vocals of bassist David Vertesi, vocals you can’t help but melt when you hear. One of my favourite tracks is “Change”, a very poppy song that shows the fun and sassy side of Ashleigh. I can’t help but dance around when I hear the song and sing along to the catchy bridge. The album closes with “Last Mistake” a song that starts slow, then builds up to a soundscape of xylophone, flute, and haunting vocal harmonies.
Overall “Is” is an amazing well produced album, filled with happy catchy pop songs, and haunting beautiful songs. There are so many layers and different instruments used in Hey Ocean! that other pop acts don’t, which sets them apart from the masses. The songs are poppy enough for for pop music fans, and complex enough for a music fan that wants a little bit more substance in their music. Hey Ocean! has truly evolved since ” It’s Easier to Be Somebody Else” the predecessor to “Is”. The band has recently signed to Universal Music Canada, which is a huge thing for this up and coming talented Vancouver band. Hey Ocean! is going to be the next big thing in pop music, so check them out now before they take over the pop music world. If you ever have a chance to see the band live do it! they are one of the best live bands I have seen, I have now seen them 7 times and each time has been amazing.
Here are a few of my favourite tracks from the album: