Ocean Colour Scene

Marchin' Already

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Ocean Colour Scene reinvented themselves as trad rock journeymen with their second album, Moseley Shoals, a record indebted to late-'60s blues-rock, mod pop, psychedelia, and prog rock. Surprisingly, the album became a blockbuster in the U.K., so it isn't entirely surprising that its successor, Marchin' Already, is essentially Moseley Shoals, Pt. 2 with a bigger budget. Despite a few production flourishes -- heavily panned, distorted psychedelic guitars, trombone solos, and two P.P. Arnold backing vocals -- Ocean Colour Scene doesn't sound at all different on Marchin' Already, and their songwriting shows no noticeable improvement. But the album isn't a retreat; it's a continuation of everything that made Moseley Shoals such an entertaining record, and it's nearly as good as its predecessor. Marchin' Already is equally balanced between soulful stompers ("Travellers Tune"), rockers ("Hundred Mile High City"), and prog-inflected ballads ("Better Day," "Besides Yourself"), all delivered with almost too much passion. But the key to Ocean Colour Scene is that they are fervently committed to trad rock, which means they pour themselves into predictable songs that turn out to be quite satisfying, even if they are guilty pleasures. And if that's the case, Marchin' Already is a great guilty pleasure.

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