Hey Ocean! literally has animated appeal 

click to enlarge From left, guitarist David Beckingham, flutist Ashleigh Ball and bassist Dave Vertesi are Hey Ocean! - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • From left, guitarist David Beckingham, flutist Ashleigh Ball and bassist Dave Vertesi are Hey Ocean!

If singer-flutist Ashleigh Ball sounds unusually animated on “Is” — the frothy debut of her Canadian alterna-pop trio Hey Ocean! — don’t be too surprised.

The singer, who brings Hey Ocean! to The City this week, has been lending her elastic vocal talents to children’s cartoon TV programs for eight years, playing everything from the Care Bears’ Oopsy Bear to Black Widow in “Iron Man: Armored Adventures.”

And unlike Scarlett Johansen, who starred as the spandexed superhero in the movie “The Avengers,” she says, “I didn’t have to wear the suit or anything — I just had to sound sexy. So I got the easy job, just being the voice.”

Currently, Ball has a regular part on cable’s “The Littlest Pet Shop” as Blythe Baxter, a teenager who can telepathically communicate with animals.

Her weirdest part was “an ambiguous, kind of transgender tomato on a series called ‘Coconut Fred — Fruit Salad Island,’” says the Vancouver-based artist, who was noticed by a voiceover agent at a Canadian College of Performing Arts showcase.

“I based the voice on that ‘It’s Pat’ character from ‘Saturday Night Live’ until the tomato joined forces with the evil blender at the end of the series.”

Ball’s skills have caught on in unexpected ways. Fans of “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” became so enamored of her recurring equine roles as Applejack and Rainbow Dash, they began galloping to Hey Ocean! shows and fashioning pony and band T-shirts and mashup videos.

“I’ve just ended up getting this crazy following, and it’s a bizarre world that I’m just now getting a grasp on,” she says.

Male fans — Bronies — and females — Pegasisters — alike, she adds, “follow us online, on Twitter, and really seem amazed that Applejack and Rainbow Dash are in a group, as an actual person.”

Ball’s music career is equally quirky.

Tossed into music lessons as a kid by her composer grandmother, she chose flute because her older siblings already pounced on piano and six-string. When she started coffeehouse jamming with her longtime chum, guitarist David Beckingham, then added bassist Dave Vertisi, she got her old instrument out of mothballs.

“I know the flute is hilarious, but it just kind of worked its way into the music that we’re making today,” she says.

Buoyant “Is” cuts like “Islands,” “Big Blue Wave” and “If I Were a Ship” have a nautical theme, although the vaudevillian “Bicycle,” celebrates Ball’s favorite means of Vancouver transportation.

Animation-wise, though, she’s hoping for posh Disney/Pixar work some day. “But Seth McFarlane is so gifted at what he does,” she says. “I think a guest role on ‘Family Guy’ would probably be the ultimate for me.”

Hey Ocean!

  • Where: Café Du Nord, 2170 Market St., S.F.
  • When: 8 p.m. Tuesday
  • Tickets: $8
  • Contact: (415) 861-5016, www.ticketweb.com

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Tom Lanham

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