Saturday, March 27, 2021

Is ‘Octopus’ by ISLAND really an octopus?

London based alt rock band ISLAND have released their smooth new single ‘Octopus’ along with a tranquil beach set video to go with it.

The four-man band delivers a real masterclass in easy-listening with a rhythm that could surely mellow out Charles Bronson even if he were halfway through a prison brawl with a punching bag. 

Following on from hits like ‘Stargazer’ and ‘Just That Time of Night’ ISLAND are forging quite the reputation for songs with a dreamy feel that transport their listener to a state of bliss. Just as much as it is a song ‘Octopus’ is an experience.

Set against the aesthetic backdrop of the sea the video comes across as a cheeky inversion of humanity’s locked-down and indoor daily life in the Covid era. Day breaks in an outdoor living room set on a basketball court by the beach as lead singer Rollo Doherty brushes his teeth dressed in his pyjamas. The scope of the day involves a game of chess, a read of the newspaper, as well as a bit of ironing and hoovering whilst an old TV plays to the side. Before we know it the day, and the song, are over all too soon as dusk falls on the band of four. 

Oh how familiar this routine all sounds! And oh how us city folk long for an escape to a beach – literally any beach, even a British one!

But at two and a half minutes long only it is truly a shame that the song is so short. Doherty’s velvety vocals treat us to some transportive long notes and the instrumental chorus is as catchy as Covid-19. It leaves us wanting more from it, just as we crave more out of our current lives than being stuck in our homes with time passing us by.

Why the song is titled ‘Octopus’ is up to the listener’s interpretation, for it is not blindingly obvious. However, this listener can certainly imagine a carefree octopus agreeably bouncing along to the groove of the beat by the beach whilst simultaneously strumming the bass and stroking the drums in the clutch of his many tentacles.

All in all this ‘Octopus’ is not an octopus. The music video tantalises us with images of the outside world yet it does not provide us or the band with the freedom we associate with the great outdoors. For now we’ll just have to enjoy brushing our teeth and vacuuming our living rooms to the tune of this song imagining we’re on a beach being serenaded by a jolly multi-instrumentalist octopus.

Piers Richards


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