This Austin 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' tendency toward vintage electronic equipment like theremins, the group's passion for tweaking the capabilities of modern recording gear should not be overlooked. Essentially, then, the Octopus Project is that most millennial of outfits. A wide-ranging (and often ironic) knowledge of historic esoterica and unorthodox weirdness combines with a contrasting thread of semi-futurism and pop formalism. The result? A deceptively complex sound that appeals to straightforward indie purists and lovers of avant-pop, never too weird for the former nor too simplistic for the latter. (And, the Octopus Project automatically earns bonus points with all camps for having named its 1999 debut EP, Christmas on Mars, when that 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 — is allowing the group considerably more onstage flexibility, so expect an extra theremin solo or two from Yvonne Lambert.
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