Dive in on a track by track guide of The Ocean Party’s new LP, ‘Restless’
Never a band to slow down, Restless marks The Ocean Party’s sixth record in just seven years. Ahead of their massive Australian tour in support of it, the band run us through the new record, top to bottom.
‘Restless’ came from a brief demo on the piano. Originally it was about half the tempo and only perhaps suitable to be a short instrumental break in the album. Weeks later we tracked it in a more upbeat structured form at Zach’s house and it evolved from there. It’s a song about causality: when did everything start going this way? Why can’t we just trace the line backwards and smooth out the kinks?
This is one of the darker songs on the record, lyrically influenced by our time touring some of the more desolate parts of Australia. It’s a somewhat post-apocalyptic vision of the Australian outback and the music attempts to evoke the expansive feeling one might get from an Ennio Morricone piece.
3. ‘Back Bar’
This is another track which was originally much slower. On our way up to Brisbane this past August we found the original demo and couldn’t believe how slow it used to be. Deciding on the new tempo must have just made so much sense that we totally forgot it was ever any other way. Lyrically Back Bar looks at life in the new millennium and the inherited burden of past generations hanging over the heads of the new generation.
4. ‘Decent Living’
‘Decent Living’ is another track which evokes a lot of space. I think we have a tendency to think of sound in terms of narrative and image, and it really felt like we were constructing a scene with this song. It’s about the contradiction of endlessly pursuing comfort and normality in personal life and the internal toll of avoiding any external conflict or departure from a supposed comfort zone.
‘Teachers’ showcases a very mid-20s style of nihilism – “study hard then die, work hard then die” – but hopefully it doesn’t take itself so seriously that it becomes unbearable. Our first foray into an unnatural time signature felt like lifting up the carpet and seeing some new grit amongst our songs.
6. ‘Better Off’
This song is a reflection of western superiority, it’s creation of extremism via it’s own military terrorism and the way corporate interests through their ties to the media would have us perceive ourselves and the situation. It is a song which builds in intensity both lyrically and musically.
‘Pressure’ explores the feelings of claustrophobia felt by a couple in a failing relationship held together by a child. We demoed it in our first session at Zach’s house and used everything we did in the final version. The brushes and bright guitar along with the imposing bass line gave it a light/dark contrast that felt like a nod to some of the more gothic moments of post-punk.
This was a song that we filled up musically and then pared back from. I think this approach gave each instrument a sense of conviction and surety in the final version, which lends itself to the lyrical content. It’s about the breadth of change in a person’s life. We are only made to experience the present, which makes the past and future a matter of faith.
9. ‘Second Guess’
‘Second Guess’ is a song written after a friend took their own life and questions whether more could have been done. As such it had a certain visceral quality which needed to come through. It was an interesting song for us in that it is fairly dark in content and tonality and yet it’s very upbeat.
10. ‘West Koast’
‘West Koast’ follows Second Guess with a different kind of introspection. It is a melancholic recollection of being intoxicated and overwhelmed by a situation. I think we all locked into the vibe of the song easily, which made it easy to work with. Everyone contributed really well on this song – each instrument has something for the listener to explore.
11. ‘Locked Up’
This track developed slowly as its lyrics started taking shape and everyone tapped into the mood of the story elements. It’s is about anticipating action. We dwell on the coming moment, and when it arrives we are thrown by its reality.
Restless is out now through Spunk Records.