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

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Travis & Fripp - Thread – Given the extensive musical resumes of Theo Travis and Robert Fripp, it was only a matter of synchronicity that would lead to a real time collaboration by these two innovators. Travis work with Cipher...  (2009) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues