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OCTOPUS

Psychedelic/Space Rock • United Kingdom


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Octopus biography
Originally named The CORTINAS, this mid-60's Hatfield quartet was discovered by The TROGGS' soon-to-be bassist Tony Murray and Nigel Olssen, destined to be Elton JOHN's regular drummer. It is Murray who eventually introduced the band to producer Larry Page, The TROGG's manager, and by 1968 OCTOPUS had earned a support spot to a promising young band called YES. They also got booked into the Marquee Club, toured Europe, shared the stage with HUMBLE PIE and STATUS QUO among others, and in 1970 released a first-rate pop album titled "Restless Night"; unfortunately, however, it failed to attract much enthusiasm outside their hometown. They stuck together for a while and then decided to split up in 1972. Their keyboard player John Cook later joined MUNGO GERRY whereas bassist Nigel Griggs and drummer Malcolm Green, both moving to Australia, eventually became members of SPLIT ENZ.

Their sole album is a fascinating specimen of early 70's pop with tinges of psychedelia, with musical phrases and choruses highly reminiscent of The BEATLES and TEN CC. Complete with the era's typical fuzz guitar and swirly organ, the album features short but catchy song-based melodies, a few bluesy jams and very strong vocals. The extremely rare original LP is no doubt worth a bundle but anyone interested in some fine pre-prog, 70's psych pop ought to seek out the 1997 CD release which contains several bonus tracks.

You'll definitely be hooked by this OCTOPUS if you're a BEATLES, BADFINGER or TEN CC fan.

Lise (HIBOU), CANADA

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Buy OCTOPUS Music


Supernatural AllianceSupernatural Alliance
RISE ABOVE LIMITED 2018
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From A to BFrom A to B
Emi 2000
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The Boat Of ThoughtsThe Boat Of Thoughts
SIREENA RECORDS 2011
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OCTOPUS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

OCTOPUS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.61 | 19 ratings
Restless Night
1970

OCTOPUS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

OCTOPUS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

OCTOPUS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

OCTOPUS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Laugh at the Poor Man
1969
3.00 | 1 ratings
The River
1970

OCTOPUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Restless Night by OCTOPUS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.61 | 19 ratings

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Restless Night
Octopus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Being a huge fan of the wonderful band SPLIT ENZ (since their magnificent album 'True Colours', and I was only 8 years old then!), which in their 'classic' period line-up featured the great rhythm section of bassist Nigel Griggs and drummer Malcolm Green (both to be heard on this album, Restless Night), I later learnt that Griggs had been involved in many bands prior to joining the Enz - Octopus, The Cortinas, Carmen, and even Steve Hillage's band Khan, maybe only for short stints, but he was there. The only significant pre-Enz recorded work (that I know of) being from Octopus.

The album in its original form is rare and will cost mega-bucks, but Essex records re-issued it on vinyl, with an exciting gatefold cover (!) but little to no information. The music presented on this album is definately influenced by The Beatles, with an occasional proto-prog twist - colourful, energetic little songs that are really likeable. Opening with a fuzz-guitar driven song, 'The River', quite a simplistic tune, but the grooving rhythm really sets the mood. 'Summer' is very Beatles, down to the 'Fab Four' style harmony singing. 'Council Plans' introduces the first organ parts to be heard on the album, and is a quieter piece, more in touch with psychedelia than prog. The title cut, 'Restless Night', begins with a fuzzed-out, heavy, odd tempo riff, and changes rhythm again when the vocals start. Excellent riffs, progressions and organ playing to be found on this one. 'Thief' is a fast-paced rocker, complete with some nice rattling bass playing and cool riff.

'Queen and the Pauper' is an organ driven number, with a simple progression and cheerful rhythm, but some unusual key-changes to make it more interesting. 'I Say' is a light ballad, 'John's Rock' is a pub-rocker driven along with the boogie styled piano playing and rough singing from keyboardist John Cook. 'Rainchild' is back to Beatles territory, and album closer 'Tide', is the 'mini-epic' (5.40), starting out slow with a pleasant melody, then picking up pace by the time the mesmerising soft-toned organ solo plays through. The last section is almost symphonic (in progression and tempo anyway).

Not really complex prog-rock, but 'Restless Night' comes highly recommended for those that enjoy psychedelic, proto-prog and Beatles. Closer to 4 stars than 3 !! On a curious note, original drummer Brian Glasscock is the brother of the late, great John Glascock (they dropped an 'S' so it doesn't look bad??).

 Restless Night by OCTOPUS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.61 | 19 ratings

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Restless Night
Octopus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Unfortunately I fail to agree to loserboy's opinion about this record being a definite essential one and masterpiece in prog. Honestly listening to it was quite a big disappointment for me especially after reading the praising reviews. Certainly the influence by the "fav four" cannot be denied at all, but is this what it makes it a masterpiece? For sure no, rather would I say OCTOPUS was just another one of myriads of bands from that era riding on the waves of THE BEATLES but never did it really in fact and vanished in the haze. The songs presented here are though being quite nice overall very simply structured and highly accessible pop tunes. I cannot not detect any relevance for prog here, "Restless Night" is for me just an ordinary pop album from that era like thousands of others. Can't rate it higher than a collector's item which means 2 stars. I'm quite sure that I won't be seduced to spin it once again the next couple of years.
 Restless Night by OCTOPUS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.61 | 19 ratings

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Restless Night
Octopus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by bristolstc

5 stars Ahh, Octopus, one of the most underrated records of the transitional era between psychedelic pop and progressive rock, leaning much more towards the former than the latter. This album as an original is extremely rare and unaffordably expensive, in fact I only have the Essex reissue of it, but I can tell you that this blows away a lot of bands who did better commercially and this is a commercial album. Octopus sound somewhere between The Beatles, Sweet, Badfinger, 10cc, and if you know their music both The Gods (pre Uriah Heep Ken Hensley group) and The Koobas. The tracks are mainly short, not focused on solos, but with gorgeous melodies and a great lead voice reminding me of a cross between the late Brian Connolly in Sweet and Paul McCartney. If that sounds like a strange cross, then you can see that this album's going to effortlessly slide from heavy to pop and beyond often in the same track! Opening cut "The River" features a great driving fuzz guitar, strong vocals, and some really great upfront drumming. "Summer" is similarly a rocking track with great harmonies and an obvious Beatles/Badfinger influence. I would have to say that this album blows many Beatle rip off groups of the early 70s out of the water, even though I have a strong liking for anything inspired by the Fab Four. Why is it so good? Because Octopus are original. They think about a riff, a melody, a lyric, and build the song around that without being derivative. "Council Plans" is a song that could be said to be Octopus's "Eleanor Rigby," but it sounds nothing like that. "Thief" is the hardest rocking track on the album with fast driving rhythms, dynamic vocals, and again some great drumming. So little is known about Octopus that they may have been a studio only project and not really a band, but that doesn't work against them. The 'tinkering around in the studio' vibe adds to the greatness of this record mainly because there is so much variety. For space rock into late 60s Beatles melodic pop check out the stunning last track "Tide," while one of my personal favourites is "I Say" which has a great melody and super vocal. For reasons unbeknownst to me, Octopus is almost always put down rather than praised while horrible groups like the Aerovons (shelved album for obvious reason, should have remained unreleased!) get all the praise. Even Rockin' Horse on Phillips isn't as good as Octopus, making Octopus one of the only post Beatles Beatle tribute bands worthy of the kind of praise attributed to the band that influenced them. And this isn't really a tribute album, it's far too imaginative and diverse for that. I haven't been able to find the original, hopefully I will someday, but if you can find this masterpiece either as a vinyl or CD reissue you should treat yourself to a true work of brilliant musical artistry.
 Restless Night by OCTOPUS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.61 | 19 ratings

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Restless Night
Octopus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by loserboy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Fantastic UK psychedelic pop progressive act who really took the "Sgt. Pepper"'s aura to another dimension. "Restless Night" was originally issued on the Penny Farthing label in 1970 and is a wonderful album full of 70's era - BEATLE'esque themes and musical feelings. OCTOPUS blend superb fuzz guitar and organ work all wrapped up with some great lead vocals. Someone once described this album as being "So dangerously post-Sgt. Pepper's that it approaches solo McCartneyism". This magical little album has been re-issued by "See for Miles" on CD with extra tracks off of their singles (also has been re-mastered). This album also does carry some very unique musical moments and is not in anyway a 100% carbon copy of the BEATLES, but realistically does come from the same genre... The parallels are there. The best tune IMHO on the album is the last one "Tide" which is also the longest (5:40) as it allows the instruments to really expand out a bit and gives a bit of symphonia to this psychedelic folk/prog masterpiece. IMHO this is an essential album and the extra tracks are worth the price alone... OCTOPUS's "Restless Night" is a masterpiece...

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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