Released to coincide with the 350th anniversary of the Royal Marines’ formation, ‘Ocean Wave’ is a collection of stirring tunes, traditional melodies and celebrations of great, traditional British music as played by arguably the finest brass band in the world. But, before you immediately dismiss the notion because you don’t usually pay attention to brass bands, first bear in mind that the style lends itself to a surprisingly large range of styles – as evidenced by this release.
Ultimately, this is music build from melodies, chords and basslines, just like all of popular music, and by that token (with a couple of creative structural changes) it allows for a versatile selection of pieces – particularly with the addition of a selection of vocalists and soloists to take center stage.
You would perhaps expect a large proportion of the songs to be upbeat, impactful marches, but in fact only three songs adhere to that – ‘Life on the Ocean Wave’, ‘Famous songs of the British Isles’ and ‘Rule Britannia’. But other songs will surprise you. Hymn ‘I Vow to Thee My Country’, Irish folk song ‘Danny Boy’ and a quasi-pop version of ‘No One But You’ sing by Ellie Thomas are just three of the unusual, but welcome, song selections.
Of course, ultimately this is a celebration of trumpets, trombones, tubas and the rest. But it’s so much more than that besides