They lit up the charts with swaggering hits like Hundred Mile High City, Paul Weller and Noel Gallagher were their biggest fans, and The Riverboat Song’s irresistible riff rang out every week on Chris Evans’ TFI Friday. Their second album, Moseley Shoals, went triple platinum. Their third, Marchin’ Already, topped the charts. Both are included in this deluxe celebration of the band’s career which packs in all 10 of their studio albums.
We also get bonus discs full of B-sides and rarities – with Weller on sombre ballad Robin Hood, and the Gallagher brothers on an Oasis-style cover of Day Tripper.
Like their stellar collaborators, Ocean Colour Scene were looking to the future with one foot stuck firmly in the past.
Their songs had echoes of Small Faces and Zeppelin, Byrds hooks and McCartney melodies. Yet OCS were always more than the sum of their influences.
You can hear their chemistry on hits like The Day We Caught The Train.
Steve Cradock’s superb, distinctive guitar play was a perfect foil for singer Simon Fowler’s enigmatic lyrics. Rhythm section Oscar Harrison (drums) and Damon Minchella (bass) were the glue that held it all together.
After 1996’s Moseley Shoals, they became more diverse.
Their songs spanned soul instrumentals (All Up), reggae (Half A Dream Away) and folk (Big Star). Cradock started to get more into piano. I loved Fowler’s tender duet with PP Arnold on It’s A Beautiful Thing.
But maybe the palette was too broad.
The Top 10 hits dried up after 1997’s Better Day, although they notched up decent hits until 2005.
They were a significant band whose talent deserves recognition.