Feature: Ocean Alley – Lonely Diamond

Australia’s funkiest musical export Ocean Alley are thrilled to announce their highly anticipated third album Lonely Diamond. The news follows the premiere of their latest single from the record, ‘Hot Chicken’, on triple j last night and comes off the back of the recent postponement of their Australian tour until 2021. 

Grappling with spiralling out of control, ‘Hot Chicken’ encapsulates the seduction and suffering that comes from wrestling with the devil on one’s shoulder. Accentuated by the dangerous edge to vocalist Baden Donegal’s voice, ‘I’ll be the razor if you want to play’, the taunting driving guitars intensify the feeling to fight. Threaded with echoes of an Ennio Morricone Spaghetti Western score, the song’s expansive soundscape grows and conquers, transporting the listener to the middle of a dusty stand-off in a state of isolation and emptiness

Drawing from the nostalgia of music eras past, Lonely Diamond combines 70s guitar rock, country and western, old school funk and synth-heavy new wave to create a deeply contemplative and atmospheric odyssey reminiscent of music legends including Fleetwood Mac, Dire Straits and Pink Floyd. From its sprawling opening notes, the record feels like a seamless progression following their last album, 2018’s Chiaroscuro, with exploration and escapism forming two central themes that unfold and transform across the 12 tracks. Guitarist Mitch Galbraith explains, “It’s pushing forward into the unknown… taking a journey to a different place or a different time that seems familiar or that you’ve been before and all the emotions and feels that come with that.”

There’s an ingrained familiarity with this record from the first listen – all the elements that define Ocean Alley’s sound are there, but more intricately arranged; new instruments are introduced, the production is pushed to new limits and the band has created complete synergy between each track. Album opener ‘Dahlia’ mystically sets the scene with an intergalactic introduction, while the introspective title-track ‘Lonely Diamond’ engulfs the listener in a wave of melancholy before finding purpose with warmth and tenderness. Hopefulness is intrinsically linked with these anxieties, feelings and experiences explored, and the bright and dreamy ‘Up In There’ creates an uplifting sense of reassurance that everything will be okay, with its soaring harmonies, swirling guitars and ethereal keys. 

Produced by long-time collaborator Callum Howell at the idyllic Grove Studios (built by INXS’ Garry Gary Beers), Lonely Diamondfollows the success of Ocean Alley’s acclaimed second full-length LP ChiaroscuroWith its infectious blend of psychedelic surf-rock, the record propelled the band into national prominence and saw them sell 25,000 tickets over 15 sold out shows that year in Australia alone – culminating with their ARIA nominated, double platinum-selling single ‘Confidence’ taking out #1 in triple j’s Hottest 100 of 2018. Their breakthrough year was backed-up with 30 sold out shows around the world in 2019, plus major festival appearances at Reading & Leeds Festival (UK), Splendour In The Grass (AUS), Sziget (HU), BottleRock (US) and more, with the band amassing more than 250 million streams to date. 

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