How to attract the attention of a prospective reviewer: paint an album cover so compelling that it causes the viewer to overlook a truly awful band name. (Even the band admits that no one likes the name, a mutant child of Quiet Riot’s “Cum On Feel the Noise” and a poor spammer’s subject line.) Credit guitarist / graphic designer Jose Rosales with the art, which can be seen even larger on the band’s website. Not only is the cover independently engaging; it perfectly illustrates the record’s plot and is yet another argument for the value of vinyl.
So let’s turn our attention to Octo, who really should not be caged up like that. Sure, following the disaster some may say “it came without warning”, but what did they expect? That cage is too small for such a huge monster. Disaster was inevitable. Cmn ineed yr help‘s music surrounds a bevy of spoken word, sea and carnival samples, carefully chosen to carry the narrative. And carry it they do, in greatly effective fashion. The band wisely chooses to use samples unfamiliar to the general public, from sources including the classic film “Creature of Destruction” and an episode of the old television show “The Unexpected”. Even better, the band uses these samples – usually only a sentence or two – to fill in the quieter spaces of its music, so that every word is clearly heard.
Now to the music, a powerful combination of the barest post-rock elements: bass, guitar, drums. All three performers go all-out, stopping just short of speed metal but traveling far beyond the placidity expected of the genre. Yet despite its speed, the music is tight. Take for example the back-and-forth of guitar and drums on “The Face of Disaster”, which demonstrates each band member’s awareness of the others; or the way the bass suddenly takes control at the launch of “Cold, airless, forbidding”. Every sound, wild as it may be, has been mapped out with care. The overall result: an album that is both technically proficient and fun. The only ones not having fun are Octo’s victims, but one can argue that they deserved their fate. A force of nature should not be caged. (Richard Allen)