Release DetailsLABEL Hydra Head
RELEASED ON 11/7/2006
Stephen Brodsky's Octave Museum
posted on 12/2006 By:
We debated reviewing this one for a while, and justifiably so. The question was raised over whether or not this self-titled album by The Octave Museum, a project led by Cave In frontman Stephen Brodsky, has any metal relevance to it. In my opinion, it does, but I can understandably see why others would strongly disagree with me on this one.
Slap me in the face with a spiked gauntlet if you wish, but this effort has merit, regardless of whether or not it is or isn’t hardcore or metal. The focal point is obviously centered around the soaring voice of Brodsky, more than anything, and he does indeed show off his wondrous range. This isn’t a heavy album in sound, but wow does it have a passive ‘fuck you’ feel to it. Through instantly catchy choruses, angelic vocal harmonizing, and rippling electronica and acoustics, this is a strangely defiant disc. It almost feels like The Octave Museum’s version of City And Colour, without sounding so deep and serious.
So what’s the appeal here? The songs aren’t depressing, after all, but certain tracks such as “Red Headed Butterflies” and the brilliant “Kill The Queen” have an unorthodox, pensively dark vibe to them. “Swingin’ In The Sky” is a bluegrass romp with almost smug, cynical lyrics that encompass the feel of sarcastic hardcore. The electric guitars that are present among the tides of acoustics shimmer with effects, exuding catharsis and releasing negative energies with the vibrant “Spirals In Her Eyes”. There are times where I seriously wonder if Brodsky channels the spirit of the legendary Roy Orbison, another classic vocalist who’s talent was indescribable. He launches into splendid falsetto on “Voice Electric”, and the jovial “Sentimental Case”, while musically “Kid Defender” features an almost Pixies-like bounce propelled by the great rhythmic team of drummer Kevin Shurtleff, and bassist Johnny Northrup (Thee Electric Bastards / Hydronaut).
Solid songwriting is key, but at the same time, I highly doubt the tunes here would be as successful with a different vocalist, for Brodsky carries the album from start to finish. Otherwise, this would only be entertaining alternative music with Placebo, or Radiohead musings, and a bizarre surfer vibe. Yes, I know this is a metal review site, but this is a fucking good disc if you need a break from your normal listening circuit.
Personally, I justify publishing this review because metalheads are more open minded than outsiders give us credit for, and The Octave Museum IS one of those bands that have the edge that can win over those of us who don’t necessarily worship all that blasts. For Cave In fans, you need this, and for those on the fringe, at least check out the tunes on The Octave Museum’s MySpace page. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you find. There’s nothing here that will change the world, but it might hit a sweet tooth you didn’t even know you had. Fuck your comfort zone and take a chance.
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