Album Of The Week: Ocean Grove Know Nu-Metal Is Back, Baby

13 March 2020 | 10:11 am | Staff Writer

There's a tonne of new music released every Friday and wading through it to find your next favourite album is an almost impossible task. 'The Music' team get it and we're here to help, bringing you our Album Of The Week each Friday. Here's why Ocean Grove's 'Flip Phone Fantasy' gets our pick.

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Flashback to the mid 2000s and anyone who was anyone had that pink Motorola Razor flip phone. You know the one - it was the phone to have. With their latest album, Flip Phone Fantasy, Melbourne nu-metal band Ocean Grove have tapped into that sense of nostalgia and released an album that excites as much as it surprises.

It's why this week we're yelling from the rooftops about it, naming it our Album Of The Week and digging through old drawers to see if we have a flip phone squirrelled away somewhere. 

What we're saying... 

Review by Alasdair Belling. Read more here...

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"Emerging from a turbulent few years, which included the departure of frontman Luke Holmes and guitarist Jimmy Hall after the band signed a worldwide deal with BMG, Ocean Grove sound as fresh, optimistic and weird as ever on their second album Flip Phone Fantasy

"This new-look Ocean Grove combine the skate-punk adrenaline of the '90s with the excitement and ambience of the early '00s technological boom. Things come screaming right out of the gate on Superstar, with new frontman Dale Tanner, who had previously handled all clean vocals, powerfully leading the charge, adding a blast of fresh, melodic air into the band's sound.

"Elsewhere, cuts like Ask For The Anthem and Neo showcase the band’s vastly improved grip on the songwriting craft, and they show extra maturity when peeling back the layers to reveal the raw souls underneath the baggy pants and hairspray on acoustic standout Baby Cobra

"There’s always been something more to Ocean Grove than just a good riff and breakdown - something that album closer Freaks, a dynamic and experimental shift for the band, can attest to. Rather than stick to their (tattoo) guns, Flip Phone Fantasy takes all the risks that many groups looking to capitalise on success tend to avoid. New sonic influences and lyrical direction (self-growth and the benefit of hindsight rule the roost here) mark this as the most unique and potentially polarising release from the band yet. However, hardcore kids from the Black Label days won't be left out. Junkie$ and hooky earworm Sunny mix the band’s signature darkly reflective melodies with a healthy dose of moshable riffage to keep things anchored for the true believers.

"True to their self-proclaimed 'Odd World' music, things are as mish-mashed as ever, with savage guitar tones sharply contrasted by house soundscapes, as heard on sweaty cuts Thousand Golden People and Guys From The Gord. There’s a greater emphasis on hip hop than their past work too - no doubt a result of newbie Twiggy Hunter, of electronic duo The Beverly Chills -  but those sounds are blended with metal roots smoothly, creating a wonderfully dense texture, unearthing new thrills at every turn. Things may have threatened to go pear-shaped for the band at the beginning of last year, but Ocean Grove have risen to the challenge and redirected the winds of change into their ever-expanding creative sails. Great heavy records are those that are different from the pack, and Flip Phone Fantasy is a fiery beacon in this regard, one that excites as much as it surprises."

What they're saying... 

“If there was ever an album that could sum up entirely the spectrum of music that we love, this would be it," vocalist Dale Tanner told The Music

"This album is exactly the thing we’ve dreamt of creating since we were young - our own fantasy, manifest. The only thing more thrilling to us now is the idea of performing these songs on stage around the world."

“A cathartic time stamp and true translation of human emotion in form of volume and melody," bassist Twiggy Hunter added. 

"Flip Phone Fantasy is the raw self expression we’ve thought out, chewed up and spat out into a musical compilation for the world to hear. An album for the people. There will be no stage not-played. We cannot wait to carry this album around the globe and share it with people from all walks of life.“

The Music also caught up with Hunter ahead of the release. He told Alasdair Belling that Ocean Grove "feel fucking great and more confident than ever", thanks for asking. Read more here