Hey Ocean! album blends variety of genres

Rather than sticking within the confines of a single genre, Hey Ocean! explores a wide range, indicating their versatility as a band and offering listeners an new experience with every track. / Photo Courtesy of Universal Music Canada

Hey Ocean! is a three piece indie band from Vancouver, British Columbia composed of vocalist/flute player Ashleigh Ball, vocalist/guitar player David Beckingham and vocalist bass player David Vertesi. The band released their third full length album IS Jan. 29. They broke ground in Canada, performing at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and various music festivals all over the country. Recently, the band has become increasingly popular in other forms of media as well, due to Ball’s roles as ponies Rainbow Dash and Applejack in My Little Ponies: Friendship is Magic. Hey Ocean! started their U.S. tour Feb. 2 in Seattle, and will be performing at the Masquerade on March 26.

IS contains an assortment of different music genres packed into 13 songs. The album invokes animated feelings as well as inspirational, folksy moods. It kicks off with the song “If I Were a Ship,” which reels the audience’s attention from the beginning. It starts with a group of people shouting “Hey Ocean!” and is followed by a piano strain that merges with a beautiful flute melody, which moves into Ball singing mellow lyrics. The song “Make a New Dance Up” is orchestrated of entirely different sounds, where the jive that Beckingham brings with his guitar complements the upbeat drum beats and a noticeable bass groove in the background.

IS contains an assortment of different music genres all packed into 13 songs.

“Big Blue Wave” delivers more indie rock, with increasing toe-tapping tempos which contributes to the definition of Hey Ocean!’s sound. Jazz elements can be heard in the song “Bicycle,” supporting the change of Ball’s voice with relaxed beats and casual guitar riffs. There is a variety of other voices in the music as well, like Beckingham in “Steady,” a more tranquil song opposed to some others in the album. There is also “Jolene,” a song that was inspired by Dolly Parton’s song of the same name, sung in duet-style by Beckingham and Bell.

As the name suggests, there is a recurring theme of the ocean in each song, where elements like the tides and moon are used as metaphors for love and perseverance, shown explicitly in the lyrics of songs such as “Jolene,” where Beckingham and Bell sing “She’s the sea/ she’s the hardest thing to leave/ I wish that she would notice/ but the sea will never notice.” Inspirational songs like “Give,” which moves away from the lively sounds that the album started with, sends the message of reaching for opportunities before they are gone. This song, along with “Last Mistake,” captures the listener’s heart, with the band members using the earth and sky as metaphors to express love and purposefulness in their lyrics.

Hey Ocean! has completely reinvented indie music through IS, in that their songs bring together segments of indie rock, pop, folk and jazz into one spirited album. Their tropical themes can transport anyone to the paradise; just follow the music as it leads you to the waves.