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  • Writer's pictureConny Chavez

Album Review: Ocean Hills – Santa Monica

Homage to roots

Ocean Hills, a new Los Angeles alternative rock band, released their debut album titled Santa Monica. The 11-track album features elements of country rock, acoustic and classic rock that is combined to create a great summer-like atmosphere.

The band is composed of former Ignite singer Zoltán “Zoli” Téglás, guitarist Peter Lukacs, bassist Daniel Szebenyi, guitarist Peter Lukcas and rhythm guitarist Reinder Oldenburger. Téglás, once the frontman of Pennywise and the Misfits and even a Hollywood actor, has created his dream project to fulfill his musical ambitions. Ocean Hills is a self-titled working class rock and roll band, which is exactly what is showcased in the lyrics of Santa Monica.

Santa Monica kicks off with “Bound,” a semi-energetic track that begins with heavy echoed guitars and quickly blasts with heavy drums. “Bound” is one of the tracks off the album that leans to a hard rock sound. The instrumental and vocals are impeccable, yet the creativity lacks among the lyrics of the track; it appears as a broken record stuck on the chorus.

Ocean Hills gives a glimpse of a Slipknot-like scream in the first 15 seconds of “A Separate Peace,” but, of course, the band integrates their own spin with what seems to be a country sound mix. The song features a killer guitar riff that introduces a sudden silence met with the whisper vocals from Téglás. “A Separate Peace” is written as an open letter from a father to a son that has experienced a falling out after the parents go through a difficult divorce. The father found love with a younger woman, and the mother found companionship in alcohol.

“Like A Lady” will have people grooving as it channels The Who and Kiss through a rocking rhythm. “Budapest My Love” is a clear homage to the band members’ roots as multiple members originate from Budapest. “Christina” features a great electric guitar solo in the middle of the track, yet the lyrics are bland and not very rock and roll.

Few of the tracks from Santa Monica give off a beach or summer vibe. The title track “Santa Monica” is an obvious summer song that will have you longing for a beach trip. To top it all off, the track features a near ’70s classic rock guitar solo in the final minute of the song. “Hold Me” begins with the beautiful chirping of birds and a soothing melody that mimics waves coming in and out of the tide, painting visuals of sunset on the beach.

Santa Monica is an album that will have people moving and grooving but also self-reflecting from track to track. The album is a wide variety of sound fit for anyone’s entertainment. Ocean Hills has the potential of reviving classic rock and roll music, but for now, their debut album Santa Monica has them sounding like a U2 mimic band.

(Originally published in MXDWN.)

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