The Octopus Project’s Hello, Avalanche
Hailing from Austin, four musicians known as Ryan Figg, Toto Miranda, Josh Lambert, and Yvonne Lambert formed The Octopus Project while all living together. Hello, Avalanche is the group's third full length album released on Peek-A-Boo records, and it sheds new light on their all instrumental aesthetic. Taking a different approach musically to each track, the album tells a compelling story despite not using lyrics. While the music is still classic instrumental indie rock, the use of different instruments changes the color of the album through each track. The mixture of synths, guitar, bass, and drums alongside samples and drum machine programming further establishes a different statement for each track.
One of the most original instrumental choices is the use of the Theremin, which gained popularity in the classical music world in the early 1900s, makes several appearances throughout the album. The first track, Snow Tip Cap Mountain, showcases the Theremin, and is also a great track. Other highlights include Truck, Vanishing Lessons, and An Evening With Rthrta. The thing these tracks all have in common are fantastic pacing through the different sections of music, catchy and original melodies, and intriguing layers in all of the instruments. One of the more impressive qualities of these tracks is the emotional quality they are able to produce with music alone and the listener isn't left wishing for vocals in order to make the music more appealing. This music is appealing in and of itself. Music that is self contained like this is hard to find with instrumental bands because the members of other bands simply want to jam and not write actual songs without lyrics.
What The Octopus Project realizes is that in the absence of poetry in lyrical writing, the poetry must occur in the music itself instead of foregoing that element for a few catchy guitar riffs. As stated earlier, these songs tell a story, and the story told is just as effective as other bands out there that do use a vocalist. Whereas most of the the tracks maintain individuality and coherence while changing and layering music material, some of the tracks lack their own voice and seem to be used to take up space on the album. Some vamps and grooves are held out too long and become monotonous, others don't last long enough and have a chance to develop, but overall the album is a success in regards to creating a varied yet coherent statement. The bottom line of this album is that it sounds like four people making music and enjoying every minute of it. While this record is pretty sophisticated for indie rock, it is also easy to listen to and unpretentious, so go to the website and buy their albums and always remember to ROCK!
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