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  THE OCTOPUS PROJECT w/ Sleep Therapy and Cinemechanica  
  The Drunken Unicorn  
  Poncey-Highlands, Atlanta, GA  
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Musical true confession: I love The Octopus Project. This Austin band is one of the odder musical acts out in Indie land, but every time I've seen them live, they've put on one hell of a show. Loud, noisy, but with tons of underlying musical precision, The Octopus Project is hard to describe, but always worth seeing. And, in this case, the prospect of seeing them at a small local club, The Drunken Unicorn, seemed like a musical slam dunk.

Prior to this evening, I hadn't really heard much about the first opening act, Cinemechanica. But, it turns out they're an Athens band, which is always a recommendation in my book. Playing an intriguing combination of complex, bass heavy math rock and loud, screamy hard core, Cinemechanica fit squarely within a certain Athens sound. The nicest thing about this band, musically, is the intricate and fun interplay between the two guitarists, Bryant and Andy (sorry, I didn't catch their last names). In some ways, this is very reminiscent of The Purkinje Shift yet with more of eye towards melody and vocals. Likewise, on their more hardcore sounding songs, they bring to mind another former Atlanta band, Teen Wheat. In these sequences, the dueling vocals of Bryant and Andy provide a solid point/counterpoint that places them well within the post rock sound. Considering I wasn't familiar with Cinemechanica prior to the show, I was rather impressed and would not hesitate to see them again.

Next up was Atlanta's Sleep Therapy. Apparently, this four piece has been around for a while, although I had not encountered them until a couple of weeks ago at Lenny's. At that time, PostLibyan and I rather enjoyed them, as they came across as a solid Chicago-esque post rock band. With the different mix at The Drunken Unicorn, they were still impressive, but their sound seemed more complex. By this, I mean that the layers of guitar distortion soared and swelled so that the music felt almost orchestral. Furthermore, this mix emphasized the lead vocals, which had a richness and fullness that complemented the wall of sound emanating from the band. This quality made me think of Chicago's Taking Pictures, if they had been recorded by Phil Spector back in the day. After seeing them now twice, I'm quite sold on Sleep Therapy and have added them to my list of bands which I'll go out of my way to watch.

Finally, after a short changeover, The Octopus Project took the stage. Since I saw them last, some 5 months ago, they have added a new member, Kevin Adickes, who informed me that he's only been with band a month or so. This addition is a welcome one, although his relative newness has temporarily interrupted the organic nature of the band. Previously, all of their music has ebbed and flowed seamlessly, but this performance seemed a little shaky at times.

Nevertheless, The Octopus Project were in fact excellent as they played through a set which highlighted some new material as well as my own favorites off their most recent release, One Ten Hundred Thousand Million. During the set, the harder, lower rhythms were emphasized, sometimes to the detriment of the intricate guitarwork. Still, as usual, every member of the band was focused and precise as they played. This energy and enthusiasm fed over into the crowd, who danced and nodded throughout the show. It was nice to see The Octopus Project get such a good reception, in contrast one of their previous Atlanta performances.

All in all, it was a wonderful evening for music. The Octopus Project were quite fine, and I suspect that after Adickes has played with them longer, the band will regain their superb form. Sleep Therapy proved to me that the Lenny's show was no fluke. And Cinemechanica were the biggest surprise of the evening, considering I walked in there skeptical and left utterly converted.

Related Links:

The Octopus Project performed at SxSW 2005.
One Ten Hundred Thousand Million by The Octopus Project.


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