BROTHER OCTOPUS – Tentacle Trauma

Brother Octopus
Tentacle Trauma’s sound is not easy to pin down. The second offering from Edmonton duo Brother Octopus is a thoroughly entertaining eclectic melange of genres – think Captain Beefheart psychedelic arrangements with subtle disco beats and new wave/80s college pop sensibilities constructed on a blues foundation. And yes, I said subtle disco. The bass beat is there, but softer and underneath the melody line, not out in front. I was reminded of The Creatures at times. Though the somber final track, “The Electric Chair,” would not be out of place alongside offerings by The Church or Go-Betweens. The solid playing shows a confidence with nothing blistering or in your face. It’s understated and solid, yet complex enough to provide something new to discover with every listen. The first track is aptly titled “Introduction”; it’s sing-rapped over an electronic chugging guitar riff and the lyrics more or less introduce you to the personalities behind the album, namely Brother Octopus and cohort Ladyfriend. Every song has its own feel and style but also compliments the other tracks. Whether the topic is serious or (mostly) not, the lyrics are simple and clever and let the cat out of the bag: these serious musicians don’t take themselves too seriously. Take for instance, “Recreational Zoo” – the lyrics read like a Noah’s Ark headcount, with each couplet featuring a different and somewhat neurotic critter. Tentacle Trauma, while not a classic album in the classic sense, is indeed a good-natured treasure with a quirky Canadian appeal. (Oak Apple Records, Broose Tulloch

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