Hearing Simon Fowler’s majestic voice singing new words has been long overdue, so when opener Another Bard May Chant begins, that agonising wait is washed away, leaving you in a state of euphoria.
Yes, Ocean Colour Scene are back. The song is something of a funky rocker, driven along by what sounds like a drum machine, which is a rather different take for the band. The track really does try to cram in as much as possible, from the wailing guitar magic of Steve Cradock to the addition of horns (which, incidentally, feature on all four offerings).
It makes for fascinating listening and stands out as the quintessential song here. Things slow down on Be With You, a plaintive and majestic ballad with a feel-good energy that manages to fill you with a warmth that is much needed as the nights begin to draw in. ‘If you feel shattered, as if nothing matters, then I want to be with you’ sings Fowler with stirring conviction. It truly is fantastic; you can’t help but surrender to it and join in.
Clocking at only 1 minute 38 seconds, Because You’re Mine is one of the shortest songs the band have ever released, a record I believe that is held by 2013’s George’s Tower, running in at 1 minute 21 seconds.
This tender and heartfelt track is criminally short, finishing just as you feel yourself getting swept up in its aching, organic beauty. The short length of the more subtle acoustic numbers which the band have released over the years seems to be a running theme, and despite the quality in abundance, you just wish for that little extra. Closing track Standing In The Place is the longest on the EP, rolling along at an atmospheric slow burn. With infectious horns that are the heart and soul of the song, it possesses an almost hypnotic quality to it.
Ocean Colour Scene have always done things their own way, never trying to make music to fit into any kind of movement, and the band’s longevity is a testament to this. Lushly textured, these four compelling and diverse new offerings are nothing short of brilliant. Let’s hope that a new album is just over the horizon.