Ocean Colour Scene - Moseley Shoals: Deluxe Edition
Remember the good old days? When life was carefreee and just about every song on the radio was by one of those new-fangled Britpop groups? When I came to Britain to study in '95 I had never heard of Britpop, but being a life-long Anglophile who was already convinced by the Brits' superiority in matters musical it wasn't long before I was fully conversant of the kaleidoscope of music that had taken over the airwaves. What I loved was the variety: the working-class terrace anthems of Oasis, the cool intellectual pop of Pulp, the candy-coated songs of Blur. And, of course, even Ocean Colour Scene, with a sound that comes from deep in the Mississippi Delta (after a brief shopping spree in Carnaby Street).
What can you say about an album where the songs still get heavy rotation even 15 years on? I make the claim this was a classic then and it's still a classic now, even if the critics derided their retro-isms. You won't need the Tardis to go back in time, the opening notes of 'Riverboat Song' will do the trick just fine. With those cool riffs and Simon Fowler's blusey vocals the song could almost come from The Allman Brothers' back catalogue. The beautiful 'Day We Caught The Train' follows, a perfect combination of American blue-eyed soul and sublime British pop making it sound just as fresh and relevant today as it was in 1996. 'The Circle', 'Lining Your Pockets', the riotous 'Policemen and Pirates' and the 60s psychedelic-rock of 'You've Got It Bad', the great songs tick by. Sad mournful ballads alongside punchy rockers, a cohesive collection of genre gems.
This Deluxe Edition is a lovely gift, not only for long-time converts but the uninitiated as well. Disc one is the album itself in all its glory; disc two a generous collection of b-sides and alternate versions, (including a gorgeous acoustic rendition of 'Day We Caught The Train'), ending with a blistering live version of The Beatles' 'Day Tripper'.
Listening to this album is both a joy and a heartache, for it brings home the cold, fact that the radio seems a poorer, less-friendly place. Thank God we have treasures like this, lovingly spruced-up and re-issued, to seek solace in.