Perhaps there's a bit of a sly nod to art rock in the title and album cover of Painting, the tenth Ocean Colour Scene album, but the contents that lie within are without a hint of pretension, favoring the florid trad rock that's been their stock in trade since Moseley Shoals. OCS add some new color by tipping a hat to their baggy beginnings on "If God Made Everyone" -- a dense, percolating cut featuring their heaviest dance rhythms in recent memory -- lathering on backwards strings and guitars on "Professor Perplexity," and opening the album with the chattering of school children on "We Don't Look in the Mirror." Also, echoes from Simon Fowler's pastoral solo project can be heard, particularly on the baroque psychedelia of "I Don't Want to Leave England," and these sounds accentuate how OCS have added textures to their Weller-worshiping rock & roll over the years. They continue to mine interesting sounds out of this vein -- no other band has mimicked Traffic so expertly -- but the sounds and structures, not the songs, are what's memorable about Painting. Ocean Colour Scene are agile within the confines of their wheelhouse so it's enjoyable to hear them play and construct records, even if they rarely give you a reason for a return visit.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine