We Are The Octagonists, by An Emergency
Suggested by Rob Wagner
I had trouble locating the original suggestion, another album by this band. It isn’t present on the streaming services, nor on YouTube.
I poked the suggester. Here’s his reply.
“Pick something new. It was just some local band growing up and I’m not sure they’ll be hugely exciting.”
This does not bode well for our reviewing hero. I ploughed on, locating the band’s We Are The Octagonists album. Although “album” is stretching it; a twenty-one-minute run-time is more an EP.
Nine songs, twenty-one minutes… let’s go for a live review, with a few words on each song as it plays. Onwards!
Track One: Terror! – Rolling snare drums into decent rock lick. The second guitar sounds very twangy, and then we hit the joyful and quirky Adam Ant style vocal. Some punk sensibility included, Overall, very segmented, but it’s energetic and fun.
Track Two: Irony Nein Danke – Continues in a similar vein, with stuttering drums and twanging guitars. The vocals are familiar, manic in places, and treated to some rather rudimentary echo effects. Again, the song feels segmented, as if song writing is something that other people do. With no real spine to focus on, it feels untethered and anarchic. The end mirrors the start, I guess.
Track Three: Killer Bob – Bounciest track so far. Decent! The guitar does little to drive the song, as with the others, and the bass is almost unimportant, but the drums are swaggering enough to pull it through. Then there’s an odd slow section in the middle which does the tune no favours. Again, it feels that there are too many ideas for the run time of two minutes and forty-seven seconds.
Track Four: We Speak Modal – The guitars perform independently of each other, and the band, and reality. There’s no cohesion between anyone here, it’s almost scary.
Track Five: Stability Mock-Up – The most cohesive song so far, the first with an actual structure. The guitar actually drives the action rather than randomly trilling over the flailing drum. But again, it wanders off course in the middle, and at this stage the Bobcat Goldthwaite vocal is beginning to get on my tits.
Track Six: Too Cool For Love – Jarring guitars. One idea repeated twice over fifty-five seconds. Not enough of a song to really count.
Track Seven: Paper Tiger – Clapping, bouncing, wacky-voiced track with a throbbing beat. Pretty cool, but definitely more of the above. Again suffers from a meandering aspect in the middle, but my favourite so far. Likely better than Rock Lobster, not as good as Scissors Lizard.
Track Eight: Octagonists – What sounds like a recording of the band made in an adjacent room. An absolutely pointless waste of thirty seconds.
Track Nine: Kevin Bacon – The most song-like track on the album. Tight and co-ordinated prog-punk with a mathy bent, and the best home for the vocal stylings so far.
Did I enjoy this? Not really. It was, as the suggester suggested, unexciting. It threw a lot of spaghetti at the wall in the hope that something would stick, but there was little of substance throughout. I was intrigued, then bored, then mildly enthused when by something that resembled an actual song. Kevin Bacon, if you’ve not guessed, is my favourite.
We Are The Octagonists, by An Emergency, gets 5/10, mainly because it was short.