Red House Painters has always been Mark Kozelek's project, but Ocean Beach represents the first record that is almost entirely a solo project. Not that that distinction has made a great change in the music -- Ocean Beach is a spare, gentle, nearly painfully introspective folk-rock album that draws more from Simon & Garfunkel than Bob Dylan. Kozelek reigns in the droning, experimental tendencies of the group's first full-length album, yet he is more generous with his melodies and arrangements than the band's second untitled record. While Red House Painters remains very arty and self-conscious, Ocean Beach shows the singer/songwriter breaking out of his shell ever so slightly, bringing more fully developed songs and melodies with him.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine