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The Octopus Project

Golden Beds EP

Peek-A-Boo Industries

Aug 03, 2009 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Austinites The Octopus Project, make sleepy music that slowly creeps into your brain. Where I had initially written them off as another heavy-lidded, instrumental group, the quartet proved me wrong with the shimmering single “Wet Gold” and its enchanting music video. The sea change to more vocal-centric music is proclaimed within the first few seconds of Golden Beds EP. The opening line of “Wet Gold” states, “we have no choice but to destroy every note.” Its a very telling diversion from their mostly instrumental 2007 full-length, Hello Avalanche, which only featured vocals on one cut. “Wet Gold” is clearly the best song here, with its chiming melody and girl-boy vox.

The next melodic slice,“Moon Boil,” has an earworm chorus over the clatter of pre-programmed backbeats. It sounds more like something a noise-pop band from The Smell would fling at sweaty throngs than the intricate work of a delicate chamber pop collective. The haunting mood of “Rorol” is a protracted respite. A Theremin line quivers over a plodding guitar before a catchy dancefloor beat starts to gyrate. Sadly, this aural shift takes a good four minutes to develop. The Octopus Project truly showcase their abilities to rein in and let loose chaos on “Rorol” and “Wood Trumpet” but their noodling seems to be stuck in middle gear.

The band never quite reaches the peaks it portends to summit. It’s a shame, because Octopus almost have the kind of raw dramatis personaes of fellow Texans, Explosions in the Sky or the math-y Battles. The triumphant post-rock pop of “Trumpet” and hazy indietronica of “Half a Nice Day” may not mesh well sequentially, but they float by on their charm-filled purpose. All of these tracks are welcome experiments that hopefully look forward to a better full-length in the works. In the meantime, the EP is also enhanced with seven music clips, including a live performance of “Truck” from last year’s Austin City Limits. Sometimes a visual guide helps you grope through this type of free-form music. (www.theoctopusproject.com)

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