Exposé Online banner

Pink Octopus — SexBeef and the Pink Octopus
(Roadies Delight Records no#, 2013, DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2015-04-26

SexBeef and the Pink Octopus Cover artSeattle’s Pink Octopus is primarily the venue for the compositions of Jonathan Louis Huffman, with vocal parts devised by Matthew Swartz (who has a band called SexBeef, hence the album title). At the time of this recording, other contributors included drummer Ian McCarley, who is still with the band, and bassist Erik Smith, who only plays on a couple of tracks, while Huffman and Swartz take care of the low end on the others. (The working band now features Luke Wyman on bass and Michael Porenta on saxophone, and since Swartz lives in LA, Pink Octopus performs as an instrumental unit.) Stylistically, they have qualities in common with contemporary bands like Minus the Bear, The Mercury Tree, and the more proggy side of Umphrey’s McGee: instrumentally challenging rock with busy guitar parts being a defining feature. Instead of playing chords or simple riffs behind the vocal parts, Huffman is often playing really tricky patterns that imply the chords and fit together with the bass parts. At times the sound borders on fusion, which is of course emphasized in the band’s instrumental passages. (It’s also notable that when the band performs live without the vocals, the sound is full and doesn’t seem at all to be lacking anything.) Other factors that come into play are the occasional use of keyboards and electronics. Pink Octopus manages the trick of being complex enough to appeal to prog rock audiences but rocking enough for more mainstream (“indie rock”) listeners as well. Engineering is by Huffman himself — he runs a recording studio in Seattle as well — and is superb, the sound crisp and clean even at the times when there’s a lot going on. This is a band worth watching — their next effort is sure to be even better, if their live shows are any indication.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Pink Octopus

More info
http://pinkoctopus.bandcamp.com

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Gods of Electricity - Sundiving – Introducing a world where standard sci-fi is just too darn human to be plausible. If there are any advanced life forms out there taking joy rides through post-supernoval remnants or losing the space...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues