Okay, time for a big confession: I watch a children's cartoon about ponies, and I love every damn minute of it. Apparently, Ashleigh Ball, voice of Applejack and Rainbow Dash on the new generation of My Little Pony
, has a band called Hey Ocean!
with her best friend since the sixth grade, David Beckingham. It's hard not to smile when you're listening to their third album, Is
, especially when it feels like the jumpy, cotton candy-sweet songs like "Make A New Dance Up" could be sung by colorful ponies. The band is capable of very mature compositions, though, like the tentative and chilly "Islands" or the mournful country ballad "Steady." They show their musical versatility on songs like the jazzy "Bicycle" - really, every song seems to bring a new instrument into the mix - and Ashleigh Ball's husky but elastic voice is as pleasing to the ear as Neko Case. You go, Rainbow Dash!
Stream the entirety of Is
below (it's also available for purchase on iTunes
Hey Ocean! is starting a US tour on 2/2. Check out the dates here