Octoberman, Fortresses

oct_fort_phixrIf you could float through everyday with Octoberman’s Fortresses in your head, constantly on repeat, you’d probably share a comfortable grin with everyone you pass. That’s the effect that the potent, landscape-inspiring rhythms would have on you. They’re buoyant enough for one to constantly and comfortably keep their head above water. But when Marc Morrissette’s nasaly voice and curious condescending lyrics finally work their way into your subconscious, it might be time to call the doctors.

“I really loved your band. I was your biggest fan” croons Morrissette as they open the record with “The Backlash,” a simple yet endearing jangle-fest that would make Sloan proud. It’s that effortless groove that made the Halifax legends, well, legendary and at times on Fortresses, it wouldn’t seem impossible for Octoberman to share their fate. Happy and indicitive, it feels like we’re onto something.

But when Morrissette switches gears on the same track, beginning to degrade musicians around him and in turn, himself, we see how clever Morrissette and the rest of Octoberman really are. Soon, mindless guitar noodling overshadows a fairly catchy chorus. Fortresses could be a record that make people happy to buy records again, but at times, Morrissette just ends up coming across as a little difficult to identify with.

“Scenesters” finds drums that nearly beat the shit out of the three and a half minute, prog-infused up and down little ditty. Maybe Octoberman is trying to work out their aggression while it’s still fresh. But I can’t help but think about the insanely optimistic, southern-acoustic closer, “Portland Hotel.” “The life you live is good. Please keep that in mind when it all turns bad.” I hear you, man. It’s a little late, but when Octoberman build on the strengths of Fortresses (Of which there are plenty) then we may be onto something special.

By Joshua Kloke

[Rating: 3/5]

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