AFM Records [Release date 27.11.20]
Ocean Hills is the brain child of vocalist Zoli Teglas (ex-Ignite), having taken 30 years’ worth of experience in the music business to launch this project with some very talented, accomplished musicians - Peter Lukacs (guitars), Daniel Szebenyi (keyboards, bass) and Reinder Oldenburger (guitars) all share Teglas’ vision and were instrumental in bringing it to life, and he is the first one to credit his bandmates for making the debut album, Santa Monica, what it is. These guys are good.
The album opens with the current single ‘Bound’, which is the 4th to be released from the album and was co-written by Bush guitarrist Chris Traynor. Santa Monica has 14 tracks including extended versions of the 3 singles that preceded the album release, ‘A Separate Peace’, ‘Death or Liberty’ and the title track, ’Santa Monica’.
All the tracks are very different varying from full on rock to acoustic ballads and anywhere in between. With a nod to Zoli’s self-confessed influences of KISS, Led Zeppelin, The Who, he has a very clear vision ”I just want us to be known as Working Class Rock N’ Roll.”
“The best musicians out there are the ones, when you go to a concert, that elevate you above all your problems for the few hours you’re there,” says Teglas. ”They take you to another level and make you feel better than when you got there. I miss guitar solos, I miss songs that are almost 6 minutes long, I miss musicians that can really play. This album will grow on you because there are songs on it that are completely different from each other – acoustic songs, total rock songs – and hopefully people will sit down with it and let it get into their soul.
Looking at the Ocean Hills debut as a whole, Teglas sees it both as a tribute to and a return to what made music special to him at a younger age. As the kid who got KISS Alive II as his very first record, he remembers feeling as if it had been made specifically for him. That feeling dedicated him to the listening experience, made him want to hear more, which is the goal of Ocean Hills both through the album and performing live: to bring back the magic of discovering music, which Teglas feels is sorely lacking in the world these days.
“This has always been a passion for me,” says Teglas. ”I’m trying to write music, for example, for the average plumber from New Jersey who comes home after a long day at work and wants to lose himself in a song, because the majority of people out there are working their butts off. I’m writing music for the 30, 40 and 50 year-olds out there; people that understand where Ocean Hills is coming from.
Personal favourites for me ‘A Separate Peace’ (starts with a hint of Slipknot in my view), ‘Santa Monica’ and ‘Angels Wings’ with it’s heavy opening riff.
This is a class debut album, great production, there are no fillers, and this feels all the more poignant an album given the times we are currently in – rock n roll is most definitely still going strong, music is still happening and I’ll be signing up right now as this band really is exciting – I see great things ahead for Ocean Hills. ****
Review by Karen Clayton
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