Blackpool, England based Octopus Montage released its debut album, How To Live & How To Lose, on April 2nd. Octopus Montage is a pop-punk / metalcore band comprised of brother Dec Naylor (vocals, guitar) and sister Davina Naylor (bass), Alex Jennings (vocals, guitar), and Cain Dylan (drums). The band entered the music scene in 2017 with their cover of “What’s New Scooby Doo?” which has over 9 million streams on Spotify. Prior to How To Live & How To Lose, they released two EPs in 2019, Catharsis and Reborn (…Again).
The UK has been a dominate force in rock music for several decades providing an endless supply of musical acts. Birmingham gave us Black Sabbath and Duran Duran. London gave us The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. Manchester gave us Oasis and the Bee Gees. And of course, Liverpool gave us the greatest group of all time, The Beatles. However, the resort city of Blackpool situated along the Irish Sea, 30 miles North of Liverpool and 40 miles NW of Manchester, has not been known for producing musical talent. This may be about to change with Octopus Montage’s debut album.
“‘How To Live & How To Lose’ is our first major project together since our lineup change in 2019. The record has pushed us into places we didn’t know we could go, with our heavier sound migrating to extremely brutal places & our softer songs being way more melodic than anything we have ever released before,” shares Alex Jennings. “Personally, this album hits on a lot of personal experiences & each song takes me on a different journey of which I think will translate to the audience, whether it’s a similar journey or a completely separate one.”
The opening song, “Grow Up”, sets up the listeners for what is to come over the next 34 minutes. It starts with pop-punk style verses and choruses, wide open guitars, and clean vocals by Dec Naylor. An attitude shift occurs in the bridge with a switch to a harder metalcore sound with aggressive guitars and Alex Jennings screams replacing Naylor’s melodic vocals. The song reverts to pop-punk for the closing outro. The next song, “Voices”, is a tug of war between the bands hard and melodic sounds. The verses are filled with unintelligible screams and metal style machine gun rhythms. Choruses maintain the same intense guitar and drum rhythms over which Naylor lays his cleaner vocals. “Right Here With Me” slows the pace and features chunkier, palm muted guitar parts and clean vocals throughout.
The album continues in a back-and-forth fashion of alternating styles. “Dopamine”, “Don’t Run Your Mouth”, “Phantom Settlements”, and “Split” display the bands pop-punk sound. While “A Shortcut”, “Vendetta”, and “Mother Trucker Dude, That Hurt Like A Buttcheek On A Stick” flash their metalcore sound. The album is like a battle of the bands, pitting two bands with contrasting styles against each other, except in this case both bands are Octopus Montage.
“Dopamine” is the album’s best song. Metalcore is cast aside, and pop-punk is in full force. “‘Dopamine’ is a self-deprecating, angst-fueled explosion disguised as a catchy pop-punk tune. The song focuses on the mindset many people find themselves in when they’re in their late teens and early 20’s and have to start acting like a ‘proper adult’ but have no idea how to do so,” the band shares. “’It looks at issues like lifelong friends entering long-term relationships, moving up in their life while you’re still single, working a dead-end job and living at home. Hence the need for a release of Dopamine in the brain – a naturally created chemical in the brain known as a ‘feel-good transmitter.’”
They continue: “The sarcastic twist, ’here goes another blow, another worthless anecdote,’ is inspired by bands like blink-182, who exposed the difficulty of growing up while showing that a bad situation can be looked back on and laughed at later down the line. It proves that everything may not be as bad as it may seem. We also wanted to continue showcasing both our softer and heavier sides.”
How To Live & How To Lose exhibits Octopus Montage’s hybrid combination of pop-punk and metalcore. Its constant shift of musical styles keeps the album interesting throughout. The band’s pop-punk style is reminiscent of Blink-182 with Naylor’s vocal intonations similar to that of Blink-182 front man Mark Hoppus. I’m not sure if the band is still struggling to find their identity and musical direction or if this is their final form, but I hope they trend more towards the pop-punk sound. Regardless, I believe Octopus Montage is a band to keep an eye on over the upcoming years.
- Grow Up
- Right Here With Me
- A Shortcut
- Don’t Run Your Mouth
- Mother Trucker Dude, That Hurt Like a Buttcheek On a Stick
- Phantom Settlements
- Jennifer’s Secret
- A Member of Our Band Got His g******s Stuck In a Rather Compromising Position and Got Rushed to a&E
What do think about this album? Comment below.
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