Octopus – “Supernatural Alliance” (Rise Above Records)
Also known as The Octopus and rising out’ve the Detroit wasteland comes this intriguing band who mix stoner / psych with the kick ass rock of their famed city a la MC5 to make for one happy clapping, if sassy bird flipping debut! Formed in 2008 by guitarist J Frezzato (ex-Electric Six) after a waking dream of a massive iron octopus navigating the ocean post armageddon (well, that’s what he says!), vocalist Masha Marjieh (former church screaming kid) was soon invited on board along with underground names like Matt O’Brien (bass/formerly of Detroit fuzz-funk crew Big Chief), Chuck Burns (drums, also a member of Speedball and Seduce, formerly of Universal Temple Of Divine Power) and Adam Cox (keyboards). Together they’ve effectively bonded to create 10 tracks of kick ass Detroit rock, stoner and hippy psych on show here! Given this is her first band, Marjieh excels and is clearly a natural (hence Frezzato’s choice) with buckets of power, sultriness and soul, which she uses exceedingly well in varying degrees across the numbers, while maintaining presence throughout the entirety of the album – which is, incidentally, well titled given the fantastic dynamic between all the band members. From the hard street rock of ‘Strike’ with Marjieh giving Mick Jagger a run for his money along with Frezzato’s teasing guitar taking us to the hand clapping shouted out chorus, ‘The Unknown’ sees (The) Octopus snaking its way into psych / doom with the guitars going space crazy and Cox adding to the tripped out madness with his own organ keys. With Matt O’Brien’s bass going so heavy it could hit the earth’s core on ‘Black Dynamite’, Marjieh really shows her sustained highs as Frezzato finally succumbs to wah fever while on ‘Child Of Destiny’ it’s actually Cox that shares the stage with Marjieh’s power larynx on this nice slice of catchy electro space rock! Best song for me though was ‘Sword And The Stone’, a pumped groovy 70s number led Marjieh’s cool as f–k tones that built steadily until the full fisted chorus hit like a hammer with the collective might of the band’s guitars, drums and keys all behind it (and probably the kitchen sink too)! Definitely a hard slice of underground rock true to the kick ass spirit of the Motor City.