steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Octagon

"Nothing But Change" CD

Serious Business Records

Genre: indie rock, indie pop


Oct 6 2008

Nothing But Change's seventeen tracks whiz by pretty quickly, largely because only two of them make it past the three minute mark. But part of the reason this record turns out so fleeting is its fun factor. Yes, I just said "fun factor." In a manner borrowed most overtly from Pavement, The Octagon's three troublemakers tromp their way through these songs with a melodic but unceasingly carefree ethic.

Of course, Nothing But Change doesn't exactly reach the heights attained by an album like Slanted and Enchanted, but by that token they're also not the same band as Pavement. The Octagon are more rock and less pop than Malkmus et al., but this is still music with songwriting depth. The best songs on this album match solid hooks with a carefree demeanour: "The Narrow Road to Oku" recalls zesty mid-90s indie rock, "Carlito's Way" is peppy and angular, and impulsively structured "The Hope and the Shame" is a joy to behold. None of these songs has the lasting power of a "Summer Babe," but they still have their share of appeal. Of course, with seventeen songs, a few experiments don't work, and certain songs are blander than others, but that shouldn't break any hearts. Much like a Guided by Voices album, Nothing But Change's gems are served alongside some less precious stones. But if fun, gleeful indie rock is something you're hip to, The Octagon will not disappoint.

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Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 17 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2007]