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Finnish psych group Octopus Syng reverberate like 1967 Pink Floyd. They might not be pipers at the gates of dawn, but they’re darn close. Singer/guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Jaire Pätäri started the band as a solo project in 1999. He first planned this release as two separate 10” EP’s, but the music worked better as a whole. Jaire writes all the songs, and this time around, he listened to chanson and musique concreté and deepened his obsessions with ancient microphones, Paris and old ghost stories. Influences range from the 1920s and also include Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd (no surprise there).
Listening to their new fourth album on this gloomy late July day, I realize how autumnal these sounds are. The opening track with the marvelous name (“Carbon Dust and Latin Romances 1927”) is a finely constructed hauntology-inflected instrumental, sounding almost like Beautify Junkyards has joined them. “Woman” is short and evocative, tambourine punctuated by trippy percussion and warm keyboard and guitar.
“Echoes From the Past Centuries” reminds me of a Paul Roland song, only with charmingly accented vocals and not so heavily gothic. The song’s slightly mysterious air lends itself well to this comparison. “Surrealistic Room” is lovely and not so delicate, though the billowing keyboards and sprightly melody shimmer in the tradition of the best soft psych. “Melancholy of Delight” is a longer tone poem, with mostly spare instrumentation, save for the violin that offers a spectral backdrop.
“Belle and Ville” is an interesting juxtaposition of trumpet, twined harmonies, and a muted musical tapestry. “Unknown Actress” is charging psychedelia with a prog feel, and is an odd bit of a song. There are many layers and levels to this tune, and it all keeps shifting during its four minutes. “Today’s Portrait” reminds me a bit of The Doors, which is fitting given that it’s one of the band’s influence. The keyboards only add to this feeling that Jim Morrison is skulking about. “Walking In the Pale Light” is fleeting and pastoral with chirping birds and ends too swiftly. “Reverberating Garden Number Seven” is hallucinogenic and gentle, and it picks up halfway through, escalating slowly to a grand finish. Fans of soft, gently wafting psych and Syd Barrett styled music will enjoy this trippy offering from this long running Finnish group.
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