Last October we sat down and had a chat to Ocean Alley’s guitarist and absolute legend Mitch Galbraith ahead of their Land of Plenty appearance. ‘Infinity’ and ‘Stained Glass’ were making the rounds on the airwaves and Galbraith teased that “‘Infinity’ and ‘Stained Glass’ could possibly make it onto our next LP release” and that “there will probably be another record sometime next year.”
A man true to his word, almost a year after ‘Stained Glass’ marked our sonic surface, Ocean Alley are dropping their third studio album, Lonely Diamond, on Friday 19 June. The album boasts twelve tunes, including the aforementioned 2019 singles, along with the ultimate banger ‘Tombstone’ and the spicy ‘Hot Chicken’.
“I don’t think we had any other songs ready to go to be honest but I do keep my word,” he laughs.
The other word on the street is the record is fantastic! Lonely Diamond drops Ocean Alley into the escapism realm with themes of loneliness and isolation, reflecting our current global climate but not a direct reaction from the pandemic patch.
“It was written before as a reaction to what we were going through while we were writing. We were touring quite hectically playing big shows in OZ and overseas and a bit of that longing for escape rubbed off while we were writing.”
At least now the boys were able to get some rest during isolation. Recording and production with Callum Howell at Grove Studios took place before Covid clouded our country, and the boys haven’t been as under each other’s feet as they were before, cohabiting together.
“Actually just before lockdown happened, half of the band moved up to Byron Bay and they’re living together up there and there’s still three of us down in Sydney. We would have ripped each other’s head off isolating together I reckon! There’s a bit more space now,” Galbraith laughs.
It seems like stars were aligned for Ocean Alley and Lonely Diamond with the album being their most recognised body of work to date and one that Galbraith and co are truly proud of. Sonically, the boy adopt an appropriate melancholic mattress on which to lay their sound, travelling appropriately down a blues corridor, gravelled with pained vocal melodies and syrup-sticky guitar lines for effect.
“We were trying to do a better job with that this record and we had better resources this time around, more time and in between tours we were writing and recording so we had the chance to coming back with fresh ears, giving us the opportunity to finesse some of the songs. It’s been a much smoother experience and I think we got a better result,” Galbraith comments. “It feels like we have a better handle on things and a better macroscopic view on the whole situation. It turned out so good so that’s really encouraging for when we start working on the next body of work. The bummer is we haven’t been able to play these songs and tour these songs and we won’t be for a while.”
With a cancelled North American tour and the Australian tour been pushed into the new year, or potentially further, it may be a while before Alley allies get to witness these songs in the flesh.
“Circumstances have changed since we postponed the Australian tour so it may be pushed back further but who knows. We’re just going to spend this time getting our live show ready for when we do get back,” he says.
Allas, there is some good news on the live front. Following a successful live stream concert for Coopers Brewery, the boys are planning on releasing a live studio session.
“We’ve been doing some live studio recordings as well so when they get released that will be a chance for the fans to get as close to a live performance as they can which will be out before the end of the year. Right now though we have the time to keep writing, keep tinkering and start developing those ideas that will probably develop into songs for the next cycle for the next record down the track whenever that may be.”
Lonely Diamond is out Friday 19 June 2020. You can pre-save it here.
Written by Tammy Walters
Photo by Kane Lehanneur