It’s hard to think about The Ocean Party now without the specter of loss hanging over the band. The band’s Zac Denton was taken too soon and it seems that the band needed a break from their former name, leaving The Ocean Party behind along with Zac’s memory. Thus is born Pop Filter, a new nameplate, but with the same bittersweet heart beating underneath. Banksia is packed with rippling jangles, rhythmic twang, and a wealth of self-effacing lyrics that embrace a wistfulness that can only happen in your twenties. The band layers in a good dose of keys in combination with the shift to becoming Pop Filter and the slight twist of New Wave fits in nicely with their Aussie amble. The brightness is a welcome surprise, framing in a crop of tracks that pick at their scars with the kind of tenderness that forms a tightness in the chest.
“Open House” is a sparse, heartbroken track that anchors the midsection of the album. The scars don’t get much rawer than this. The feeling of betrayal, bewilderment, and disappointment is palpable and relatable. The band can often write songs that pull at doubt with a touch of underlying depression, but make it feel comforting. They swerve out of the ache before it becomes unbearable, but the feelings of melancholy never shake from the album completely, even when the melodies shine like blurred sunshine in summer. There’s happiness, but a feeling of guilt that hangs overhead, that nagging feeling that the brighter moments are undeserved. If The Ocean Party must be put to pasture, then Pop Filter is hardly a compromise for those who found solace in their works.
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