Ocean Grove – Flip Phone Fantasy
Released: March 13, 2020
Dale Tanner // vocals
Twiggy Hunter // bass/vocals
Sam Bassal // drums
Matt Henley // guitar
Running Touch // studio member
Here it is. The most lucrative, secretive and long-awaited album in Australia is finally here. The Melbourne four-piece unveiled their first single ‘Ask For The Anthem’ way back in February 2019 (or sneakily during UNIFY Gathering 2019) and since then, have slowly been drip feeding tracks one by one, only adding to the mystery surrounding the album. Well, it is a mystery no more. Welcome to Oddworld 2.0, or more commonly known as Ocean Grove’s sophomore release, Flip Phone Fantasy.
The record kicks off the party with a nostalgic ringtone of a… yes, a flip phone, a girl answering “hello?” and straight launches into the catchy as hell nu metal party starter, ‘Superstar’. This track feels like a continuation from the band’s debut The Rhapsody Tapes, except it’s definitely way groovier and catchier. The line “I didn’t know you could move like that…” backed by a pulsating psychedelic beat throughout the chorus, sounds incredible with the explosive guitars lapping in and out from start to finish. Meanwhile ‘Neo’ sounds just as explosive, perhaps a little more punk rockier for all you heavy fans. It’s very reminiscent of millennial/late 90’s punk music, and almost sounds like to me that Ocean Grove are well on their way to a starting a new musical revolution. This is evident on the alternative/punk anthem ‘Sense Again’, a hard rock, summer cruisin’ track of defiance. Summer may have just ended here in Australia, but vocalist Dale Tanner is keen to keep the summer vibes going here, especially with the sunkissed alt/rock anthem ‘Sunny’. Hearing this song when it was first released at the launch of the Australian summer season, it just instantly reminded me of days by the pool and heading out on a roadtrip.
The revolution continues on grungey, dark, nu metal hit, ‘Thousand Golden People’. Tanner’s vocals are absolutely soaring throughout the chorus, and it’s here that you notice he has one heck of a talented set of pipes. Drummer Sam Bassal has his defining moment on the album too, his drumming is insane on ‘Guys From the Gord’; this track is pretty full on with the bass and electronica sonics though, just wow! I freakin’ love this song; it feels very Prodigy, and I could see this absolutely explode in a festival atmosphere. Flip Phone Fantasy sees Tanner show off his softer, romantic side here on ‘Shimmer’, singing “you’re stronger than me, you’re stronger than you think you are”, an ode to that significant other in your life. It’s an alt/rock ballad, channelling an early 2000’s Silverchair. Things turn even more chill, almost ambient, on ‘Baby Cobra’. Acoustic Ocean Grove is a rarity in this life, but what I’m feeling from this track is a mediating change. It’s as if the vocals have been completely stripped back, and it feels soothing to the soul to listen to.
Ever since ‘Ask For The Anthem’ was released, the world has been digging this bass-thumping psychedelic version of the band, and the band knows we love it. This track slaps hard and hasn’t left my playlist for the last 12 months. Need I say any more about it, really? ‘Sway’ acts like the interlude at this late point in the album, and it really doesn’t feel like Ocean Grove at all. Standing in at just over a minute long, it’s a ghetto 90’s hip hop sample and is the only track on the album that sounds so far from everything else. However, the band picks up the revolutionary heavy once more on grungey anthem ‘Junkie$’, and I love the distortion on this track. The boys rake it in with “one time for the bass to make you go” and it’s the Ocean Grove fans fell in love with from the start. Rounding Flip Phone Fantasy up with ‘Freaks’, a progressive rock track that sees Tanner belt out in a song so powerful, almost as if he was made to perform this in front of huge crowds. The intricate guitar chords later launch into a soaring stadium rock chorus, and we can only wonder what’s next for Ocean Grove here on out.
Ocean Grove have begun a musical revolution on Flip Phone Fantasy. They’ve experimented with a plethora of musical styles and yet still managed not to stray too far from their origins. Despite the gimmicky name, Flip Phone Fantasy is an exemplary record that will appeal to fans, the masses, the entire music community as a whole. Was it worth the 12 month wait? Absolutely. This record takes you on a journey through the band’s mind and ultimately challenges alternative music as we know it. It’s meant to be, the Flip Phone Fantasy.
Ocean Grove – Flip Phone Fantasy tracklisting
3. Sense Again
5. Thousand Golden People
6. Guys From The Gord
8. Baby Cobra
9. Ask For The Anthem