It's been more than a decade since Pennsylvania's The Ocean Blue released a full-length album and the quartet makes no secret that "Ultramarine" came together in bits and pieces as members David Schelzel, Bobby Mittan, Oed Ronne and Peter Anderson recorded here and there. Singer and songwriter Schelzel referred to it as a record done at a "glacial pace." It was worth the wait.
The 12 songs on "Ultramarine" recall the sincere clarity of the band's self-titled 1989 debut and 1991's "Cerulean" with songs that soar with grace, blend cascading guitars and rich keyboards with lyrics that manage to evoke sentimentality, optimism and an appropriate romantic longing without being cloying or grating.
It's akin to returning to the alternative, college-scene era of the late 1980s but with a definite and knowing contemporary streak. This evidenced by "Sad Night, Where is Morning?" which brims with melodic guitars, measured percussion and passion-infused singing from Schelzel declaring "my thoughts today, oh how they want to stray."