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Second Life Syndrome
4 stars What a quirky little EP! Finland's Octopie is band with daring and courage. Their new EP is a follow-up to their debut album, and I have to admit that it is quite tasty in many different ways, one of them being how different and fresh it sounds. Octopie have personality to spare, and it comes through clearly on this EP.

The band plays an interesting form of prog rock which sounds like a mix of classic rock and symphonic prog. On one hand, they have a very classic rock sound to their guitars, and the bassy grooves they induce, but, on the other hand, they use flute and keys very well, too. The flute is even a mainstay instrument in the first song, and not just a novelty. Thus, the flute can be found in solos, but also in the middle of the instrumentals, just like the guitars. This, honestly, is what really drew my attention. To hear flute used in such a way is just awesome, but to hear flute used this way and actually be masterfully written and beautiful---that is something special.

Tom Tamlander on vocals also sounds very much like 70s rock singers. Not just his tone, mind you, but also his vocal melodies. He forms such a whimsical accompaniment to the music that I start feeling nostalgic for some Hendrix or The Doors. These tones are certainly in there, but Octopie is no copycat.

My favorite two tracks are "Departed" and "Moths". The former is packed with flute and groove, and the the latter is melodious and features some great keys. The other two songs are excellent as well, as "Empty Pages" includes a slow ambiance accented with great guitars and "It's Time" has wonderful groove.

Bassy, rockin', and funky, "Octopie" is worth your time. I hope to hear a full album from this band soon, especially if it features the same great flute and keys.

Report this review (#1133599)
Posted Tuesday, February 18, 2014 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars This is yet another band I came across when I was asked to evaluate them for ProgArchives, and I was quite blown away by this four-track EP. Hailing from Finland, this is their second toe in the water of releasing material, and I can only hope that they will soon be picked up by a label and given the time and resources to record a full-length album as these guys have real promise. They have definitely been listening to 'War Child' era Jethro Tull (and that can never be a bad thing in my book), and although their use of flute is much more clear than the breathy tone often deployed by Mr Anderson, that is not the only thing that reminds me of that period of time with chunky keyboards (including mellotron of course, and Hammond) and a singer in Tom Tamlander who was obviously born in the wrong decade. Here is not a singer who is going to sit quietly in the background, but instead not only sings but really lives what he is doing, putting loads of emotion into everything. Consequently the band have to be on top form to be able to stay the course and they are definitely up for the task.

The music is quite laid-back at times, and has been recorded in a way so that every instrument has plenty of space and the ability to shine but not so distant from each other so that they also have the ability to blend and complement what each is playing. There are long instrumental passages where they all have the chance to take the lead role, and show that many other the classic prog bands have also had an impact on their sound (early Genesis, Gentle Giant, Yes to name a few). Definitely one to keep an eye on, this EP can be streamed from Bandcamp so it is possible to try before you purchase and at only 5 Euros it is a bargain.

Report this review (#1166750)
Posted Monday, April 28, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Finnish group Octopie have released one album and one EP- in this unusual order. I haven't yet heard Fresh From The Oven (2012), but hopefully I'll be able to return to that some day. This EP is just under 27 minutes long but definitely worth each minute. For me the less enjoyable factor are the vocals which are a bit over the top, a cross between Robert Smith of The Cure and the US prog band Relayer in their passionate wailing. However the music is strong enough not to be ruined by vocals. And in fact they fit there pretty well. Strong, dramatic, exciting, original - these adjectives come to my mind of this music.

The sound is quite hard rocking, especially in the last song 'It's Time' (for some reason not printed on the back cover) which is the most guitar-oriented and ballsiest track. In 'Departed' the delicious, Tull- reminding flute blends wonderfully with the folky retro prog sound. The mostly instrumental latter half of it is mesmerizing. Slightly slower 'Moths Pt 2' also has a vintage feel. In just seven minutes Octopie manage to include more - from beautiful sound texture to emotional singing to soaring soli, etc - than an average band might luckily reach in double length, and yet the track never feels overloaded. This is retro-style modern prog nearly at its best! A well stirred cocktail of Camel, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd and cocky hard rock could sound something like this, not forgetting the brave, eclectic progressivity.

'Empty Pages' has a hint of blues & funk flavour occasionally, but most of all it's an emotional prog semi-ballad. Even with some things less up to my taste (the vocals, some over-dramatic or ballsy moments) I can say this is probably the best EP I have heard.

Report this review (#1182845)
Posted Wednesday, June 4, 2014 | Review Permalink

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