Hershey, PA's the Ocean Blue
are practically masters of sweet, gentle, vaguely British pop, combining sparkling, jangly guitars with crisp, sweet vocals and thoroughly melodic songwriting. Their self-titled debut lays down the blueprint for this sound, which remained largely unchanged through releases like Cerulean
(which sported slightly dreamier production and songwriting) and Beneath the Rhythm & Sound
(the band's most polished and pop-oriented effort), falling somewhere between the squeaky-clean pop of the Housemartins
and the gorgeous melodic elements of the Cocteau Twins
. While its songwriting occasionally falters, and it lacks the sonic cohesion of its two successors, The Ocean Blue
delivers on what makes all of the band's work so appealing: simple, beautiful hooks and melodies.