ELECTRIC OCTOPUS – ST. PATRICK’S COUGH (Interstellar Smoke Records, 2022)

Spicy fragrances for a New Dope Generation!

Genre: Psychedelic Rock
Rating: 9/10

This is not the time (it’s about 9 p.m., Italian West Coast Time) neither the place to start ranting about the immense confusion about what should and what shouldn’t be called Psychedelic music. I know it’s not the kind of question that keeps you up at night, but let me tell you it’d be worth a few words. Maybe another time. Maybe another place, preferably in another dimension. For now let me just state one thing, knowing that I‘m surely gonna piss off a lot of folks out there: Stoner Rock ain’t Psychedelic Rock. It’s just a derivative form, just like its hillbilly cousin, Sludge Metal. Now what about Blue Cheer then? I told you. Another time. Let’s focus instead on what is Psychedelia. Action speaks louder than words, but music beats action 10 to 1 in terms of sheer loudness. So, we are left with only one option my dearest: put on something to caress our ears with new, inconceivable sounds. Once again, we won’t look back. No need to dig out the glorious past when we have something fresh right here, right now. Electric Octopus signed their first record deal with Interstellar Smoke Records, Poland. A lot of goodness coming from this brave label, but it’s gonna be stuff for other reviews indeed. Following their amazing Inclination, self-released in 2021, our trio from Belfast has finally found its true voice: St. Patrick’s Cough, way more of all its predecessors, is not a collection of jam sessions but a record in all respect, with a precise albeit ethereal structure and a stylistic coherence. That doesn’t mean Electric Octopus set for any compromise at all. On the contrary, the album sounds intentionally lo-fi, raw and underproduced. This has the only effect of giving the whole work a distinct old school flavour that subtly clashes with a contemporary sonic palette, an absolute delight for your stoned eardrums. The album opener, “Turnkey”, is a classic psychedelic jam à la Grateful Dead powered by some great jazzy drumming that sets the general mood for the rest of this excellent work. A flowery, Hawaiian flavour inspires “Leighton Buzzard” and its quasi-surf attitude. But here things are getting really interesting: “St. Peter” starts as an eighties’ guitar-oriented rock ballad then slowly drowns in a tranquil lake of smooth acid and high pitched interstellar signals. Just the time to drift out of it and “Focal Swan” hits, bopping, crackling and popping – a crispy song for a New Dope Generation. Everything in this mind-blowing record is there to expand your musical horizons and project your inner self into new levels of consciousness. Black and his didgeridoo will take you on a magic carpet ride in “Universal Knife” and “Consonance”, and you won’t get down by yourself, rest assured. Hughes’s synth, on the other hand, introduces “Lémon Rage” (guest drummer Cora Hamill), an electric calypso boogaloo that turns into a minimalistic drum 'n 'bass jam with the hypno lever cranked up at eleven. Oh yes. Piero Umiliani on a hard electrohouse diet. Gimme more. But now I’d like a twist of Orient. A strong twist. Et voilà, here comes the title-track: a ten minute journey drenched in Sitar goodness that gives a long awaited answer to the suppositional question “what if St. Patrick wandered across Punjab?”
Through “Sunthing”, an orgiastic cremony fueled by haunting folk chanting, we get to the end of this fantastic journey. “Town” serves as outro, taking us by hand to the exit on a synth improv à la Brian Eno with a touch of eastern vibes. But there’s a track you simply can’t miss: “a2enmod” is DA BOMB! Take a pulsating bassline and wrap it up in a minimalistic keyboard wallpaper, just like cascades of ice crystals on a silver plate, add some great tribal drumming (courtesy of mr. Hetherington) and a splash of didgeridoo on the side. What you got is a hypnotic tune that goes on for 14 mins that evolves into a space-rock electropunk jam (Hawkwind meets The Shiva Resurrection while talking with Ladytron) that mutates into an acidjazz-flavoured power track. Once you get caught in all this there’s no turning back. You’ll be hooked for life, a slave to the infinite complexity of Psychedelic Music. Turn on, tune in, drop out.



1.    Turnkey

2.    Leighton Buzzard

3.    Restaurant Banking

4.    a2enmod

5.    St. Peter

6.    Focal Swan

7.    Lémon Rage

8.    Universal Knife

9.    St. Patrick’s Cough

10.  Consonance

11.  You Have to be Stupid to See That

12.  Sunthing

13.  Town


- Line-up:

Guy Hetherington - Drums

Tyrell Black - Didgeridoo, Guitar

Dale Hughes - Bass, Synthesiser

Cora Hamill - Drums ( on Lémon Rage) 


WEB: https://www.facebook.com/electricoctopusjams

Article by: Karl Eisenmann