Octagrape - Emotional Oil
Star Rating: 5/5
Emotional Oil is a short but impactful EP from San Diego based band, Octagrape. Led by psychedelic guitarist and pastor Glen Galloway, the band infuses noise punk to their DIY roots in previous projects. The band is represented by SoundsFamilyre, a folk/christian label whose most prominent release was Sufjan Stevens, though they weren't able to keep him around after his #1 hit.
The record has many noise punk cues that remind us of the Breeders and Pixies, as well as some original grunge rockers like Nirvana. It opens with guitar feedback and then a solitary guitar note played quickly, rushed even. Then the drums pull us forward and the rest of the band comes in. The song might just as easily be an ode to the receding hairline as it could be about anything else.
Glen's lyrics are intentionally hard to understand as if he wants to you to derive your own meaning from his mumbled philosophical musings. Of course, leading a Christian hip-hop band like Soul-Junk previously, it's hard to get away from the biblical metaphors, but the group obfuscates their meaning enough to keep it from being a strictly religious project.
Top Tracks & Takeaways
This reviewer's favorite track on the record is "9 Eyed Lion", but you can't appreciate it fully until you've listened to the other three tracks. It seems to describe some sort of deep feeling cherubim figure, or a metaphor to detail the writer's own feelings.
"Teenage Baboons" is the track on which the lyrics can be heard best, though the words are still confusing. That's part of the fun of Octagrape. The songwriting keys are buried so deep that you're left wondering what they wanted you to hear. The result is that you have all the emotion and none of the substance.
"Eternal Hair" is the lead single, and it seems to know it. This song is dripping with fun, featuring Glen's vocals dancing between octaves and demonstrating his inside and outside voice. The chord patterns and structure are just fun, with cool riffs and atypical, syncopated rhythms. For all the complexity of it, one wouldn't be surprised to discover that they write their music naturally, as a group.
What we liked
This record is heavy on attitude and is sing-along catchy (if you can figure out what the words are). It has such a unique and raw feeling to it that punk rock will take on new meaning.
Not so much...
The track "Soviets" goes the longest without words and features interesting left-of-center riffs, but it may go on too long. Don't get us wrong, this track is still very punk, and it may end up being your favorite after a few dozen listens.
Videos and Singles
As their debut EP, Emotional Oil hits hard. If you haven't heard it, get on your favorite streaming platform and listen all the way through! You won't be disappointed. Just don't expect to understand what they're saying.
9 Eyed Lion