Elijah Ocean

If the name Elijah Ocean rings a bell, it might be because he’s spent the last few years steadily zigzagging the country, refining his hook-ridden country tunes for his new self-titled release. A first listen, the album exemplifies the straightforward nature of good country music, something Ocean gets. Songs like “Heavy Head” and “Time Passes Slow” take on an instantly familiar feeling—sing-along, anthemic choruses, high-soprano organ chords and silky guitar melodies. The feel-good, harmony-driven tunes have a spirit similar to the alt-country works of Ryan Adams with The Cardinals, or the 1970s folk feel of CSNY, while vocally Ocean recalls Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska recordings (specifically on “Still Where You Left Me”). The heavy-hitter comparisons speak to Ocean’s ability to do justice to classic forms. Something new that sounds like something you’ve heard before.