Ocasan – Ricochet

Ocasan Ricochet

Slickly produced to be sure, but opening track Phasers Aren’t Set To Stun is a rather sour start to this debut LP from Northampton trio Ocasan. With a repeated chant of ‘Bang bang, you’re dead, fifty bullets in your head’ and lyrics concerned with the rise of chav culture it sadly lacks even the carefully observed mundanity of early Stereophonics. Musically its bright indie-rock, crisply recorded but closer to Busted but without the gratingly twee lyrical content, fortunately. Second track Super Mario has a poppy feel, a strange middle ground between Weezer and Newton Faulkner, Nick Burns barking out the chorus and singing in shouts about a girl addicted to video games and how much he fancies her and wishes she’d pay him some attention.

Similarly sexually obsessed is the title track, about a girl who, let’s say, gets around, all wrapped up in a bouncy pop-rock package that has a similarly fizzy feel to forgotten boy band Snug. Burns softens the holler into a sandpapery croon on Josephine, another girl ignoring him, but here told in a cheery pop ballad with ‘na na naa’ backing vocals and sweet string arrangments, it sounds like The Zutons covering Take That which is indicative of this group’s rather commercial bent.

Following the rather disposable Drama Queen comes the racing drum-line of No One’s Safe In Soho, though its guitary choruses are boring repeat-the-title-alongs and the song quickly has little else to offer but that.

By Mr. Moneybags a girl has finally starting paying attention to Burns, but sadly she’s only after his money, it’s got that knowing arch style of Robbie Williams‘ debut record (specifically tracks like Clean), though its arrangments are slightly ‘heavier’ than that. Lighter In The Air begins with a nicely (intentionally) badly recorded refrain before turning into a chirpy country-flavoured stomp about a young man who dreams of being a musician. Not All Heroes Wear Capes is an anthemic rock song that seems to strive for teen movie soundtrack status. Final track When You’re Around is a ploddingly ‘huge’ song, drums and guitar crashing triumphantly together, collapsing into mellower romantic verses.

Is it offensive to call a band commercial sounding? Surely if an act’s ambitions are for stadium sized success that’s exactly what they want to hear. Ocasan definitely sound ‘radio-friendly’, but unfortunately their songs lack particularly memorable choruses and lyrically are often quite hackneyed, but it’s never really hurt a band’s trajectory. They’re the kind of act that would find a place middling around MOR radio stations helping to pass the time on car journeys.


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