Sound — 8
Ocean Carolina, the solo project fronted by singer-songwriter-guitarist Michael Simone from Starling Crush, takes a road that has been traveled on many times before by every male artist who has ever needed to let go of a woman. Simone's solo effort Leave On is a 5-track album with an alt-country complexion relatable to Blue Merle, and chugging rhythms reminiscent of Carbon Leaf. The songs have a familiar college radio-coffeehouse pop tint carpeted in a soft rustling of acoustic guitars and puffs of tweeting harmonica swirls sporadically adorning tracks like Blue and Night And Day. The campfire glow of the title track is tasseled in whining slide guitars sprayed over the sleepy strums of the acoustic chords. The dark and moody tone of Hot Lights supports Simone's mellow vocals and turn to a country-folk swagger in Repeat. The album releases small amounts of emotion in every track so Simone always keeps his cool while stoking the fibers of his feelings.
Lyrics — 8
Michael Simone's lyrics revolve around one focal point a relationship that has come to an end. In Blue, he professes, Everything will twist in time / Powder blue / Ribbons in a starry sky / Finding you / When the blue skies fade grey / One of us will have to say goodbye / Never gonna say goodbye. He muses in the track Repeat that Feelings all wound up in reason / Throwing wishes / Casting dreams, and deciphers in the title track, You know you're gonna leave on / people change / Set a fire to you and I there's no sense in dancing / We slowed it down for years. He closes the album with Night And Day feeling self-defeated as he declares, What makes a boy so happy if he's gonna be dead and lonely.
Overall Impression — 8
Ocean Carolina's first outing, Leave On, is an easy listening endeavor with songs that many listeners can relate to and find a voice for their own feelings. For fans of Blue Merle, Carbon Leaf and those of an alt-country ilk, they may find Leave On to be immediately likeable. As for others, they find Simone's genuineness attractive, and he makes the songs resonate with full-blown emotion.