Part of the problem of being a traditionalist band is that you emerge with a sound that sounds fairly mature from the outset – by emulating classic bands at their peak, you wind up sounding older than your years and, no matter how hard you fight it, a little bit stodgy. Then, because you hold the classic rock tradition so dear, you wind up becoming bound to it, rarely exploring new territory and, even then, it's usually just new tonal, textural, and emotional ground, which is so subtle that only dedicated fans will notice – which, of course, is the only kind of fan that will pay attention through several similar-sounding records. This fate has befallen many bands, both British and American, many lesser than Ocean Colour Scene, who at least were fortunate enough to ride the post-Oasis zeitgeist in the mid-'90s, which meant they not only had some hits, but that they could cultivate a reasonably large fan base and that the best of their songs – "The Riverboat Song," "The Day We Caught the Train," "Hundred Mile High City," "Travellers Tune" – became part of the pop culture of the time.
Rounding up all the B-sides, demos and rarities Ocean Colour Scene released over the course of 1996, when the band was riding the crest of their popularity, B-Sides: Seasides & Freerides, for all its inconsistency, illustrates the depth of their ambition, as well as their flaws. Primarily comprised of acoustic material, including a demo of "The Circle" and a fine, stripped-down version of "The Day We Caught the Train," the 16 tracks on B-Sides can tend to sound a little samey, but when the group branches out to the neo-prog-rock of the very English "Huckleberry Grove" or to the funky instrumental "Chicken Bones and Stones," they sound better than ever, and a couple of early songs by the pre-Ocean Colour Scene band the Fanatics are interesting.
The Union's second album, Siren's Song was released in October 2011. The title track, "Siren's Song", was released in May 2011. The Union played the "Langford Live" festival in September 2011, in order to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust. The festival, situated in Lower Langford, North Somerset, was headlined by Ocean Colour Scene. The Union embarked on a co-headlining tour of the UK with The Answer in March 2012, and also played alongside them at the Steelhouse Festival in July of the same year, which took place in the vicinity of Ebbw Vale. The Union also made an appearance at the 2012 edition of the Download Festival. Siren's Song was nominated in the 'Album of the Year' category at the 2012 Classic Rock Magazine Awards,although it eventually lost out to Rush's Clockwork Angels.
461 Ocean Boulevard is Eric Clapton's second studio solo album, arriving after his side project of Derek and the Dominos and a long struggle with heroin addiction. Although there are some new reggae influences, the album doesn't sound all that different from the rock, pop, blues, country, and R&B amalgam of Eric Clapton…