What's really great about the new Octopus Project album Fever Forms is the depth of the songwriting. I remember seeing the band years ago at the 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis and digging the band and its creativeness, but I think the word that gets stuck in mind to define the band at the time was "scrappy," which is another way of saying the band had good ideas and drive but was before it's time. On Fever Forms, Octopus Project's time has arrived.
Gone are the young-band leanings with sweeter than saccharine indie pop sounds, and in its place are songs that are more polished, more mature and have a lot more depth and complexity. I’m reminded of Stereolab in the post-Dots And Loops era.
To approach the elephant in the room, don't worry, Octopus Project hasn't matured to the point of being boring or lost its creative edge in favor of sophistication. The creative mind-bender function of the band seems finely in tact, and if their stereoscopic images or their hexadecagon shows are any sign, the band is showing that its creative and innovative edge is alive and well. What they’re doing at this point is firing on all cylinders. And it shows.
Take the song “The Mythical E.L.C.” for example. The orchestration of the horns, the back and forth of loud and noisy with the subdued combined with a pop song take on the brand of indie rock/indie pop/creative chaos the Octopus Project unleashes is not only finely tuned but interesting and exciting to listen to.
“Mmkit” starts out with modulated digital sounds before launching full on into a heavy distorted bass line. This feeds into a vortex of elements and the song builds up into a heady blend of elements, then they kick it over the top. This is going to be one those Octopus Project songs that's awesome to see live.
They still get caught up on some of the sickening twee indie pop moments, on songs like “The Man with the Golden Hand” or “Whitby,” but the band has moved beyond being the up-and-comer and into a more mature and expansive sound. Ironically, “Whitby” is also one the album's most interesting and its current single. So there.