Octaves – Which Way The Wind Blows
Release Date: April 16, 2013
Record Label: Bridge Nine
Born and bred out of a warehouse in Baltimore, Octaves’ music has always been a little grittier than its peers. Sure, the band turned heads with its 2010 debut, Greener Pastures, but it was the quintet’s DIY spirit that caught the eye of Bridge Nine. That motivation, desperation, and hard work is all evident on the band’s B9 introduction, Which Way The Wind Blows, which is the type of album that takes a band to the next level.
What makes this such a great leap? Let me the count the ways for you. Which Way The Wind Blows has a darkness Greener Pastures didn’t possess. Pastures was undoubtedly dark, but Wind has a despondency its predecessor rarely reached. Check out opener “Premature Congratulations” – it immediately signals that you’re about to take one hell of a ride on this album. “For Goodness Sake” starts and screeches throughout as Andrew Russell and Wes Young’s guitar work noodles in and out of the chaos. Shane Walsh paces the urgent “Golf Tips," while the abrasive “Poppycock” is an album highlight with its unruly approach, which results in a unforgiving breakdown.
You’ll also notice that Which Way The Wind Blows isn’t just your average post-hardcore album with sing-scream vocals and buzzing guitars as the album flaunts an experimental edge. “Tax Break” has a unique flair to it while “It Figures” employs a sturdy drum march amongst intricate guitar riffs, giving off a slight Circa Survive vibe at moments. Octaves does a fantastic job of switching up tempos and arrangements on Which Way The Wind Blows. The frenzied “Like Seriously, How Many Times?” will get your body moving, while the alarming “Mister” works hand-in-hand with brooding closer “Ms.” It’s an striking display of how far the Baltimore quintet’s product of unrestrained and poignant post-hardcore has grown.
While the LP will be placed amongst releases from similar acts like Pianos Become The Teeth and La Dispute, it’s Phil Fosler’s deathly serious yet tongue-in-cheek approach to lyricism that separates Octaves a bit from its peers. Add in his distinct howl and it’s one of the most wrenching yet honest pieces of work you’ll hear in 2013 (although you won’t be able to help but crack a small smile at all the deli puns on the delicious “Soup & Sandwich”), making Which Way The Wind Blows one of the most powerful albums of the year. It doesn't matter which way the wind hits you today - just make sure it points you towards the direction of Octaves, as they've enter the ranks of bands to be reckoned with.