Monday, 30 January 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Octo - "Kitsch"


By: Jay Hampshire

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 03/03/2017
Label: Krachladen Records

 


Their bass heavy instrumental sound sees them swimming in the same tidal pool as acts like Big Business and the legendary Melvins, but perhaps without the anthemic hooks of the former and the flagrant disregard of genre boundaries of the latter.  An enjoyable soundtrack, if not a cerebral challenge.

 

“Kitsch” CD//DD//LP track listing: 

1. Octo Kaa Wai
2. Ihre Idole sind Luegner
3. Arr arr Cincinnaticat
4. Uhu
5. Saudade
6. Trio Paradisoprivan
7. Kanarienvoegelnerven

The Review:

Cologne based ‘bass rock trio’ Octo certainly tick all three of those boxes. Their bass heavy instrumental sound sees them swimming in the same tidal pool as acts like Big Business and the legendary Melvins, but perhaps without the anthemic hooks of the former and the flagrant disregard of genre boundaries of the latter.

Opener ‘Octo Kaa Waii’ certainly isn’t cute or demure, striking out with a flatulent bass groove that flits around with antsy, almost nervous energy. When the drums lock in, things start to drive, and the bass tone throughout (and indeed throughout the record) is pleasingly chunky. It spools out into a real head bobber, powered by some impressive kick work, ending on big scraping held notes.

‘Ihre Idole sind Luegner’ is absolutely filthy, dripping with madcap tempo shifts, ballsy straight eights and brief snippets of more melodious lines. ‘Arr arr Cincinnaticat’ burbles and bounces along, throwing in curve balls of stop-start riffs and atonal overlays, but is hampered by a call and response section that drags a little.

‘Uhu’ from a muted fret-noise loop into jarring, chugging single notes that hit with mechanical, punchy precision. ‘Saudade’ twists and turns as toms mete out a big, infectious groove, before closing with a righteous fuzzed-out solo run. ‘Trio Paradisoprivan’ is more of a thoughtful meander, not as punchy with a decent amount of considered layering. Finale ‘Kanarienvoegelnerven’ follows a similar path, sweeping with a cinematic post-rock flair and an edge of the dramatic, petering out into a frail synth whine.

While the trio achieve a lot using all their rhythmic, groove laden powers, there’s a sense of ‘lack’ surrounding “Kitsch”. It’s not as simple as a lack of vocals or high-end instrumentation. Overall it seems to be a lack of true dynamic shift, of differentiation between each track. While the songs are all different, there seems to be an absence of truer form or distinction – nothing on “Kitsch” will really grab the attention of most. ‘Aimless’ is too cruel a word, but the trio don’t possess the same surety of purpose as some of their peers. This isn’t to do the band a disservice, it is just that the album seems to place itself into ‘background listening’ territory. An enjoyable soundtrack, if not a cerebral challenge.
Kitsch” is available to buy/preorder here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

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