Stephen Brodsky’s Octave Museum
Stephen Brodsky’s Octave Museum

From the opening chords and snare march of “Voice Electric,” fans will realize that Cave In frontman Stephen Brodsky has hit total paydirt with this side project while his main band is on indefinite hiatus. The band’s debut album—and probably their last, since Brodsky has since moved on to front Pet Genius—is the best effort of the three solo platters from this pop-leaning songwright (the lesser titles being 1999’s Expose Your Overdubs and 2001’s Olé Sunday).

The opening triad of “Voice Electric,” “Sentimental Case,” and “Kid Defender” plumb Brodsky’s profound Beatles appreciation, and “Prove Myself”—one of the bouncier highlights on the album, featuring Brodsky’s lissome acoustic outro—is a way cool Ringo Starr-ish tune, with beaucoup upper tom-tom work by Scissorfight’s Kevin ‘Strongbow’ Shurtleff. Brodsky’s urgent acoustic riffage makes “Swinging in the Sky” sound like Zeppelin’s “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp,” while the mellow yet poignant “Red Headed Butterflies” is one of his career apices of melodicism and creativity. The instrumental “Bluebell” has an acoustic Mandible Chatter-esque intro that bleeds into Vangelis-like ambience, and the Wellwater Conspiracy-ish “Ploo” totes a very eclectic ’60s garage-rock feel. On the Cave In tip, “Spirals in Her Eyes” could easily be a Jupiter outtake with Brodsky’s spacey echoing guitar chords, while the aforementioned “Red Headed Butterflies” could pass for a discarded cut from the Tides of Tomorrow sessions.

Without a doubt, Octave Museum is effortlessly Stephen Brodsky’s most cohesive solo album thus far, and fans can only hope that (1) Hydra Head (or some smart label) will release the band’s final recordings, a three-song EP originally sold exclusively on their UK tour; and (2) his new endeavor Pet Genius will be just as engaging and vital as the entire Cave In canon has been to the Boston indie rock scene.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chris Ayers
October 18th, 2007


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