New Album Premier -
Portland, Oregon's Holy Tentacles just released their new album "Always Change The Same,"
stream it & read the review here:
The first song "Over the Moon" washes over me pretty effectively. This song doesn't make an initial impression on me, as it's one of those songs I have to listen to a few times to fully appreciate. This song is more jazzy and thrashy than any other HT song I can remember.
My favorite aspects of this band are the guitar and drum lines. It seems the vocals and guitars are the main driving forces behind most songs. The mostly monotone nature of the vocals leave room for the instrumentation to explore and step beyond the boundaries of mundane songwriting. Monotone vocals serve a purpose and are needed at certain times but they can be over-utilized as well. Pedro The Lion is one of my favorite bands who maintains a steady even vocal range throughout all songs. Holy Tentacles has always produced well structured songs that sound extremely sleek and polished, that hasn't changed.. well, it changed the same.
Blastface: is an endless bowl of noodles at your favorite ramen shop.
A 3-part strumming riff restarts the song every so often. In the middle realm, the band goes off into a post rock-like tangent inducing a dream-state until the end when they bring things to a close with noodling and more thrashy stop/start action.
Eyes Averted: A noodly riff prefaces a single note repetitive tapping part to start out. Single note repetitive tapping lines actually peak in a few times throughout this record. This is a technique so novice that it's often underutilized in math rock, yet fills a wide gap. It's presence can be used appropriately when done right. I'm sure other bands do it but invalids is the only other band that comes to mind right now. Chimey effects break in to steal attention from the clean sounds most often used by guitarists Nicholas Von Pless and Jon Cozens.
Last Bus: With a slide heavy intro, dreamy hazy delayed guitar effects bring about a Laissez-faire vibe to this jam. Towards the end one guitar enacts a simple repetitive tapping riff while another rarely heard distorted guitar solo paces along with its' fuzziness in full swing.
Munson: The monotone nature of the vocals in this song gets old and stagnates the energy. This song is a bit dull except for the end which brings a bright and fast paced melody. The happy strumming riffs remind me of "Let's Swim, Get Swimming." The guitar effects remind me of "And So I Watch You From Afar." This is my least favorite song on the album but I'd still prefer to listen to this song than anything I've ever heard on a rock radio station. For the most part when the instrumentation in a song is flashy or acts as the driving force, monotone vocals used as accentuation are excellent, but when those type of vocals are the main driving force in a song it gets old fast. Just my thoughts. I can't begin to tell you how great it is to hear emo vocals that are also masculine and lower pitched than what I usually hear in math rock. Holy Tentacles has manly emo vocals.
Nothing Changes: Chimey guitar effects, like fractal stained glass are most prevalent in this tune. This I feel is the most accessible song on the album. The beautiful harmony and distorted noodly solos during the chorus are a nice touch. The end brings a twinkle attack guitar solo.
Old Friend: This is my favorite song on the album. "Old Friend" stands out like a column of dazzling green Emerald protruding from its' dull Beyrl base. Straight from the cascades of the PNW steady guitar strumming riffs take hold and captivate me as the singer belts out "My old friend, where have you been?" This song makes me smell "Irish Spring" even though I am not taking a shower right now and don't use that kind of soap anymore because it's not moisturizing enough. It's just that fresh! At 2:12 minutes into the song the band invigorates with guitar lines like vines branching out towards the sun, forming flowers and leaves. This song is a breath of fresh spring air.
I give this album a solid 4.5 out of 5 rating. It's smooth mathy, jazzy grooves, tight drumming and overall high quality of song structure make it an album worth listening to for quite some time. I'd say this is the perfect album to throw on while driving or biking in the misty west hills of Portland during a cold fall night.. an experience I long to have again.