Ocean Hope Define Their Own Coming Of Age With Debut LP Rolling Days (KEXP Premiere)

KEXP Premiere
05/21/2018
Dusty Henry

Greek sister-and-brother duo Ocean Hope have a unique advantage when it comes to crafting a coming of age record – they actually grew up together. Maybe that’s why their debut album Rolling Days, out May 25 via Hush Hush Records, captures the fleeting, transcendent magic of youth so well. But it’s not just a remembrance of youth that defines a great coming of age story – it’s coming to realizations of who you are and who you’ve been, even in adulthood.

In the three years since their debut EP, Chamber Dreams, the duo has only built upon the analog-driven soul searching that they first sent out into the world. The songs on Rolling Days move with such grace and elegance you’d think they were from a band much later in their career, but maybe that’s in part due to the headspace they were occupying while making this record. Opener “Devotion” gives us the opening credits scroll, introducing us to the clear-eyed wanderers seeking out love and affection through the nebulous, blanket of analog synthesizers and heart-racing drum machines. Later, the wobbly, drunken guitar tones of “Where No Love Grows” has the lucidity to, as Jeff Buckley would say, “keep good love from going wrong.” It’s Ocean Hope’s humanity pushing against their daydream soundtrack that helps elevate Rolling Days from a gorgeous collection of songs to a moving portrait of finding peace with who they are and the trials they’ve endured. What’s more “coming of age” than that?

The duo has this to say about the album:

"Rolling Days is all about tunes, words and sounds that come from the lips of a grown-up child ('Holy Bound') that has always been devoted to the idea of Love ('Devotion' / 'Where No Love Grows' / 'My Baby' / 'Black Dress'). In each song there are fragments, moments of dreaming, of facing & overcoming fears ('Unlucky Girl'), of courage to go against repression ('Americana Nights'), all moments that find their completion in the simplicity of human connection-communication ('Juliet' / '100 Times' / 'Safe'). Analogue synths, ringing guitars, chords and 'one take' vocals create a soundscape taken from our own unique fantasy world that serves as an antidote to the absurdity of our days." 

Love, loss, fears, and dissociation aren’t uncommon ideas, but Ocean Hope reinterprets them with remarkable poise and a brilliant blend of classic dream-pop aesthetics and bold risks. The effects on Angeliki Tsotsoni’s vocals, especially on songs like the disintegrating “Holy Bound,” find a new way to tread the same ground we all experience. Everyone has to grow up at some point, not everyone gets to do it so graciously.

Stream the album below.

Rolling Days is available for pre-order now.

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