This Austin, Texas group is far from catholic in its approach to indie rock. Though pegged as "experimentalists," the Octopus Project is more than capable of delivering the pop goods. And despite the members' love for vintage electronic equipment like theremins, their passion for tweaking the capabilities of modern recording gear should not be overlooked.
The Octopus Project is basically like most millennial outfits: It possesses a deep and often ironic knowledge of historic esoterica and unorthodox weirdness, combined with retro-futurism and pop formalism. The result? A deceptively complex sound that appeals to straightforward indie purists and lovers of avant-pop — never too simplistic for the former nor too weird for the latter. (The Octopus Project automatically earns bonus points with all camps for having named its 1999 debut EP Christmas on Mars, when the title was still just a nebulous movie idea of Wayne Coyne's.) The Project's latest album, Hello, Avalanche, is the group's first to feature outside studio help. The band used the appropriately disparate stylistic approaches of Ryan Hadlock (the Gossip) and Erik Wofford (Explosions in the Sky) to assist in recording and mixing. The recent addition of a fourth member, guitarist Ryan Figg, has allowed the group more onstage flexibility, so expect an extra theremin solo or two from Yvonne Lambert.