Ocean Colour Scene | 21

Universal (2010)
By MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER  |  November 22, 2010
3.0 3.0 Stars

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Casual Britpop fans probably know just a few tracks by Birmingham's Ocean Colour Scene, but there might not be a purer representative of the '90s genre than this four-disc retrospective set. What at first appeared to be an identity crisis is obviously a band who had an overload of musical influences and weren't shy about embracing them. In hindsight, their ability to draw on Madchester, early-'70s soul, and the '60s British Invasion and folk movement, combined with the chameleon-like abilities of vocalist Simon Fowler, makes it irrelevant that a cresting Oasis pimped them. The lively protest of "Profit and Peace" and the splendor of "So Low" could be put into a capsule by any generation and come out timeless decades later. The expected demos, alternate versions, and handful of mixed-bag live and radio appearances are reason enough for the hardcore to shell out for 21, but the focus is on the late-'90s Moseley Shoals era, when anyone with a Paul Weller haircut could score a record deal. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but there was material just as fine that's come out since — like this year's outstanding Saturday — that gets punished for not charting high.

  Topics: CD Reviews , 21, music review, English bands
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