The Octopus Project, Hello Avalanche

David Stubbs

By David Stubbs

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

The Octopus Project have been referred to as a “man versus machine” combo, but with everyone constantly swapping places, it's hard to figure who's pitted against whom. Josh Lambert and Ryan Figg interchange on guitars, bass and keyboards, while Toto Miranda supplies percussion and Yvonne Lambert provides a twinkling myriad of synths and theremins. This third album from the Austin electronic/indieclash instrumental combo is their most expansive and energetic to date, and it's all Yvonne Lambert can do to hold her own against the joyful, over-the-top onslaught of her bandmates.

Indieelectropop played like the janitor’s about to pull the plug.

Like a lot of their 21st-century American contemporaries, the Octopus Project compensate for the inherent tiredness of the indie and electropop genres by infusing them with a giddy abundance of energy, with everyone playing frantically like the janitor's about to pull the plug on them. “Truck” crashes through the roadblocks with huge, serrated indie-chords, spangly synth and falling-rubble percussion. “Ghost Moves” burns rubber at both low and high ends, all grainy cascades of guitar and tumbling drums cut up with laser strobes of keyboard. However, it's when the boys stand back, on “I Saw the Bright Shinies” that Hello, Avalanche is at its most luminous, Lambert's array of synths galloping along a la Terry Riley, as her Theremin hovers like Chinese lanterns, lighting up the mix.