Party like it’s 1989 this Sunday night as the Chameleon Club in Lancaster welcomes Hershey natives and Sire Records alumni The Ocean Blue to the stage to perform their first two albums in their entirety. That’s more than the Rolling Stones could say this year after proposing to play Sticky Fingers in its entirety on tour and then opting to do the greatest hits instead.
The Ocean Blue’s current lineup includes founding members David Schelzel (lead vocals/guitar) and Bobby Mittan (bass) along with Oed Ronne (keyboards/guitar/vocals) and Peter Anderson (drums). They’ve been on a five-city tour across the country this week in connection with the first-ever reissue of their first three albums (The Ocean Blue, Cerulean and Beneath the Rhythm and Sound) on brand-spanking-new 180-gram vinyl.
These albums were all released on Sire between 1989 and 1993. You know, back when they rubbed elbows on the charts with bands like R.E.M., The Cure and Depeche Mode and showed up on Club MTV with Downtown Julie Brown. At the show on Sunday, you’ll hear songs like “Between Something and Nothing” and “Drifting, Falling,” which, by the way, comes with a music video of the band wandering around an autumnal backdrop of fields and streams in good old Chocolate Town – Hershey, Pennsylvania.
New to The Ocean Blue? Their influences include such bands as The Smiths, Cocteau Twins, R.E.M., Echo & the Bunnymen and New Order. They’ve released a slew of albums since their debut in 1989 and have another on the way for 2016. Most recently, 2013’s Ultramarine brings back the dreamy, guitar-and-synth-driven sound of their early days, which is sure to please old and new fans alike.
This first studio album in ten years was released on the newly formed Korda Records, a Minneapolis label co-founded by Schelzel in 2012. Also signed to Korda are longtime friends and fellow Central PA natives The Innocence Mission, who just released a new album in October.
The dream of the jangly alt-pop generation is alive and well today. The Ocean Blue have sold out their New York and Washington, D.C. shows this week. Show some Central PA pride this Sunday and get your tickets before it’s too late. It’s all ages, too, so bring the kids and maybe get them hooked on a sound that, when done right, never seems to get old.
The Ocean Blue performs at the Chameleon Club (223 N. Water St, Lancaster) this Sunday, November 22. Doors open at 7 p.m. Purchase tickets here.
Which ’90s Central PA bands would you like to see back on the scene?