Ocean Grove Announce Line-up Changes, Reveal ‘Glass Gloss’

‘Glass Gloss’ arrives from the Odd World Collective, yet comes with some big changes for Ocean Grove. 

In some recently surprising news, Melbourne’s Ocean Grove – one of the best and fastest-rising acts in Australian alternative/heavy music lately – have announced that following their UNIFY Gathering set next month, vocalist Luke Holmes and guitarist Jimmy Hall will no longer perform with the band. Resulting in the ‘Skinny Six’ being more of a “skinny four” for the foreseeable future. Perhaps reading between lines too much, the key word I picked out from their UNFD press release was “performing“. So potentially Luke and Jimmy may stay on for studio writing and pre-production when it comes to the band’s music? Time will tell, I suppose. There’s also no word yet if either Luke or Jimmy will feature on the band’s next record either.

This was all revealed with the following “ode“, a chilling song sung by band member “Donnie” matched with subtitles to give context about their forthcoming line-up change. In short, Ocean Grove’s statement is one of sadness at two of their members leaving but also them enduring further for their fanbase; as it says, “for you“, they are continuing the band. Read the informing little poem that accompanies said song below:

“Things are changing, now we’re something new
For you
Luke is leaving, we’re still breathing
For you
A decade tall, everything was new
Still true
James is leaving, we’re still singing
To you
They may be gone, but this isn’t goodbye 

The skinny six will be revealed countless times, all in all
So why detest it, what four?”

Back in 2017, I interviewed Luke for an Aussie Feature piece, where I asked him about each members roles and if any future material wouldn’t always fit each member, what with the band’s ever-growing eclectic nature. To which he responded: “We’re always going to be doing a lot of different things, and I don’t think there will be a time when we’ll be just writing choruses. However, if that was the case and I could not keep up, I’d be the first to say that it was out of my league.” Well, now it appears that that time is happening where he feels he must step aside for the betterment of the band’s future work.

Luke Holmes, Ocean Grove, Download Festival Melbourne 2018. PC: Digital Beard (shot for KYS). 

Alongside this member change announcement, the band also dropped a new track titled ‘Glass Gloss‘. In expected Ocean Grove fashion post-‘Rhapsody Tapes‘, this well-produced song is a follow on from their debut record’s core ideas. Meaning that it’s a mixture of Nirvana and Silverchair-esque grunge/alt-rock parts and bouncy nu-metal vibes a la Limp Bizkit. And it’s not half bad, it’s okay. Intertwining these two sounds with high octave guitar-work and decent layering, ‘Glass Gloss‘ sounds and feels like the 90’s flavoured OG that myself and many others know and love. Although, it’s definitely not as powerful as their past takes on such sounds have been. It just sounds like OG spliced together a groovy, turntable-spinning nü track with a totally separate big-riff grunge-rock song. (Those “I know, I know, I know” vocal lines give me heavy ‘Nevermind‘ flashbacks too, goddamn). Of course, that variety is half the fun when it comes to this band’s vibrant music, so your own mileage may vary.

Personally, ‘Glass Gloss‘ doesn’t grab me anywhere near as much as I had hoped new material would; sitting in the shadow of their previous EP and LP rather than standing out from them. Yet the ever-changing sections, instrumental modulations, as well as the occasional whispers, higher register scoops, and vocal accent switches do maintain this outfit’s engaging eccentricity. Plus, admittedly, very few bands nail a blend of 90’s flavours as well as OG does currently. Even if this isn’t their best work.

After spending some real time this track, perhaps it will require the surrounding context of their no doubt incoming second LP for it to stick better? Either way, as of right now, I am a little bit disappointed. Still, it’s safe to say that OG will smash through each new wall put in front of their stride moving forward. In no time flat, be sure to catch the band crushing bigger festival stages – much like Unify Gathering 2019 in a few weeks time – because that really seems to be the direction they’re heading in musically and commercially.

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