Under The Sun – Ocean Breeze

Matt Catling returns in his Under the Sun moniker with another slice of truly unique experimental shoegaze. We were all blown away by his 2022 album Dream which came out on Shore Dive Records, a sure fire indicator of quality for me. Ocean Breeze is a collection of three tracks where Catling gets to fire our imaginations and excite us with where he’s going next musically.

So, what was like recording this single as compared to the experience of recording Dream. Catling had this to say.

Ocean Breeze took four months to make and was mastered by Slowdive’s Simon Scott for which I’m extremely happy. Mostly it was improved writing whilst doing the vocals for the first time. As for instruments, I used Jazzmaster/Jaguar guitars and for the track Soft Focus I used the Catalinbread soft focus pedal.”

That said let’s dive in.

Ocean Breeze opens with the title track. It’s an experimental piece with an atmospheric soundscape being formed by the wash of guitars. On top there is a repeating synth sting, almost like an alarm pulsing away whilst a distorted, stretched and warped spoken word piece echoes. This is so effective. It’s like the words are being kept hidden, just out our reach but tantalisingly close.

‘Whirlwind’ features a glorious wall of reverse guitar pushed to breaking point through a wall of fuzz. Whilst this isn’t a new track it has been given new depth and energy with the injection of dreamy vocals and trippy guitar layers. This is such a soothing piece. Almost hypnotising.

We close the single on my favourite song, ‘Soft Focus’. It has elements that would sit well on a Lovesliescrushing album. That distant vocal, the buried drums, the steady and insistent attack of the guitars. The second half gains a new clarity with bass tone picking out the songs structure and lifting it deeper into your consciousness.

If you like your shoegaze on the ambient side with heaps of character and inventiveness then Under The Sun have you covered. Ocean Breeze is a beautiful collection of tone poems, experimental gaze and is guaranteed to warm your winter evenings.

Ocean Breeze is out now via Shore Dive Records, on digital formats and a now sold-out limited-edition CD.

You can follow Under The Sun on social media here…

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