The Austin Chronicle

Phases and Stages

Record Review

Reviewed by Greg Beets, April 26, 2002, Music

The Octopus Project

Identification Parade (Peek-a-Boo) Fusing four-track rock to electronic music with a piecemeal arsenal of garage-sale instruments, Austin's Octopus Project opens its second album Identification Parade with two tracks founded on minimal tape loops that could've been recovered from Raymond Scott's Manhattan Research sound laboratory. The primitive blips that kick off "What They Found" and "Rorol" are then supplanted by the trio's evocative instrumental accompaniments, which provide the juice. In the prog-rock era, those parceled gaps might've been used as a showcase for virtuosity; here, the band favors a more cinematic intuition, letting each successive instrument heighten the tension further. Less interesting are the pedestrian beats that overwhelm the over-extended disco track, "The Way Things Do" and the stutter-stepping hip-hop goof, "Marshall Examines His Carcass." Given the promise of the LP's initial tracks, it seems like the band could've done more here. Still, Identification Parade mends its ways with the esoteric percussion and synth-bells of "Its Caption Was a Star" and the lost radio signal nuances and build-

ing momentum of "Crying at the Aquarium." Even if all nine tracks don't quite click, the Octopus Project's thrift-store version of experimental electronic rock gets extra credit for knocking it all out with a vibrant sense of ambition.


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