Stephen Brodsky - Octave Museum (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Stephen Brodsky

Octave Museum (2006)

Hydra Head

If Stephen Brodsky really does have a real-life Octave Museum, it must have two main sections to visit, and they must cross paths often: Swirling Electronic-Tinged Space Rock and The Hall of Elvis Costello Pop Hooks. As strange as it sounds, this is precisely what Stephen Brodsky's Octave Museum dabbles in to usual delight.

What must be stressed is that there are indeed many components making up Octave Museum that nearly make up for the lack of a new Cave In full-length (especially as their members are so busy there's a good chance we won't see one until 2008). For the entirety of opener "Voice Electric" Brodsky sings in his signature high pitch that's been all but absent since Cave In's wonderful Jupiter (2000), with futuristic colors stroked throughout in screeching guitars, throbbing bass and a solo that wouldn't sound out of place on last year's Perfect Pitch Black (also recorded by Cave In). I'd call it an electric light orchestra if you didn't think I was referencing the band. "Kill the Queen" especially sounds like any of Black's more eerie, down-tempo numbers.

Luckily, there are also plenty aspects that draw a clear distinction between pure Brodsky and Cave In's work. Costello is channeled notably in the quirky "Sentimental Case," a heavily distorted, utterly bouncy number with peculiar but impressive lines like "a staring contest with myself with no end result." A greater acoustic dependency is flashed in "Kid Defender," but even here Brodsky can't stay constantly stripped down, as an electric wails in the background mid-way through and more obviously during the song's taking out. However, "Prove Myself" succeeds a little more in that idea of bare bones; okay, so the orchestration is a little lush for the idea, but Brodsky's endearing repetition of "heyy girl, please let me prove myself to you" makes the chorus all the more anticipated. "Red Headed Butterflies" also aims for that territory and features Brodsky's astonishing range and moving, musical narration.

With Stephen Brodsky's Octave Museum, the prolific, electic singer/songwriter has proved he can create some quaint, pleasant and ambitious songs on his own. I'm going to hate myself for closing with the obvious here, but I guess it is indeed worth the price of admission.

Voice Electric
Sentimental Case
Kid Defender
Kill the Queen

Kid Defender [live]