In the words of founding member J Frezzato (formerly of Electric Six), Octopus is an underground, psychedelic rock beast which ‘just is’ for lack of a better and more accurate description. It doesn’t ‘conform’ to the millions of sub-genres, nor the widely accepted approaches many people have regarding how bands of said genre sound. For those who need more of a rigid definition, Octopus is a retro/psych rock five piece based out of Detroit. Formed in 2008 and after letting the music take them where it wished before it could be recorded and released, the five piece from Detroit tiptoe the lines between conventional and unique, with hefty sci-fi themes, imagery and influences, Octopus seems more like a modern day take on the space rock of old… Whatever it is or it tries to be, it’s best to get on with it and just talk about it!
After dealing with the band’s ‘view’ of themselves (from the presser), the reality of the band (from my perspective) doesn’t quite match up. To me, Octopus are simply another band in a long line of retro-rock revivalists. They have the five member format, they favour more organic sounds like overdrive, Fuzz, Wah, Hammond organs and they tend to anchor themselves into the blues, desert rock and stoner rock sounds. There’s no ‘bucking the trend’ here and the ten tracks of this release will prove it. From the more raw rockier tracks like the title track to the more spaced out sixties worship of “Fleetwood Mac” (Which has nothing to do with said band), this is simply an album which has been ‘heard before’ in terms of what has been brought to the table.
Heavy, fuzz-laden riffers like opening track “Beyond The Centre” have that ‘classic’ rock approach which many bands of this style have adopted. The ‘Sabbathian’ influences are there, all be it rather minimalistically and the Hammond organ moments are rather excellent, but it’s not exactly revolutionary nor is it attention grabbing as such, it’s simply a case of ‘more of the same’. “Strike (Whilst The Iron Is Hot)” is a solid track which is simplistic but highly effective, masterfully channelling that late 60’s spirit and “The Unknown” is a great, murky atmospheric track which plays well on the creepy factor, but other than that, there’s not much else worth talking about.
It’s fairly insubstantial in the grand scheme of things. It’s that same retro-rock kick we have heard time and time again. The same fuzzy tones from Desert Rock which we have heard done better than what has been offered here and as much as it pains me to say it, the same old Hammond Organ licks (and I love Hammond Organs!) which have that flair, but not the spark to make them really stand out. It’s just… There I guess. “Supernatural Alliance” is simply a release which seems more like it will be swarmed by its contemporaries, rather than buck the trend and go its own way.