ABQ Green Room
Album Review: Every Light Is a Sun by Octopus Tree
Updated: Jun 30, 2021
By August Edwards
In more than one way, Octopus Tree’s Every Light Is a Sun challenges a linear narrative. Distinctly their own while deeply reminiscent of rock through the decades, the band skyrocket to mountainous heights while somehow maintaining the momentum of a lazing river.
In the context of the direction of contemporary pop culture, I think Octopus Tree is a timely group. This is because of the apparent resurgence of ‘90s themes, aesthetics, and music around us, and which the band uphold. Though the album steadily veers into other territory, such as (maybe) Pink Floyd-influenced ‘60s- ‘70s rock, there’s a distinct smack of the last decade of the 20th Century.
“It’s Becoming You” is the first track of the first album from this Colorado trio, giving grunge and gravity; Blind Melon meets Soundgarden meets The Beatles, resulting in some rich vibes. The bassist Spencer Church also takes on lead vocals, supplying an attractive tenor. The following track “Funky Now” is angular in motion, propelled by a series of small, hiccup-like phrases from guitarist Nicholas Valdez. With these and the third song, “Pure Pressure”—which is led by a moseying guitar riff, trailed by washing cymbals from drummer Joe Colomb—Octopus Tree is ignited.
The album swerves into new terrain with “Moth,” the one-minute-long instrumental piece. At first, this interlude feels sort of funny; its significance is called into question because, initially, it feels forced—though, it certainly indicates a swift change of theme.
Preceding “Spinning Out,” “Moth” starts to make some sense. “Spinning Out” is this marvelous, psychedelic track that needed an introduction because, as expressed by Octopus Tree in a recent interview, it is the song that drove the entire album.
“Summer Never Ends” is another track that smolders and flickers with flare—it gives the illusion of length, it draws you in from far away, the guitar talking to us from down a long corridor. “Sweetheart, you’re slipping through my hands,” Church sings, his voice offering the comfort of Robert Plant while still being his own.
“Cliffnotes” is empty and janky, enticingly so. The instruments can be pictured as isolated from one another, existing together only as a collage. “Promises” and “Losing Myself” could be called heady, as they’re an intoxicating mix of fantasy and reality.
The tempo ramps up with “Weyouweyou.” The listener is shoved into a car chase—the faster beat increases heart rate and creates a sense of urgency. The title, “Weyouweyou,” serves as onomatopoeia, undoubtedly conjuring a siren. The album ends with perhaps its most literal track, “Desert Babe,” with wild, jungle drums and a serpentine guitar line.
When would I listen to Every Light Is a Sun? When I don’t want to be so drenched in reality, when I want something to let me wonder. The album is heavy-duty and I think the nuances are familiar and soothing enough to allow yourself to float away along with the sound vapors.