Octopus Syng is a one man psychedelic pop-rock band from Helsinki, Finland. Jaire, the man behind the music, has been doing this stuff since 1999 and I think there are also some good releases in his discography. However the latest full-length, Birds of morning are never late, is a horrifying example how uninspiring this type of hippie music can be.
So, what does it sound like? The songs are dominated by acoustic guitar and soft singing. There are also some light percussion elements and of course the mandatory ethnic instruments. Does it get more basic than this? The overall sound brings to mind such names as Pekka Streng and perhaps The Strawberry Alarm Clock. I must admit that there are a few catchy parts in the whole package but mostly it feels just like cheap and aimless wandering. There isn’t any challenge or suprises in the structures. It just doesn’t get psychedelic or mystic enough to guide you into different realms. I find myself being close to the brink of aggression because of the irritating single-sidedness of it all.
The artwork is done by Jaire himself. Though I can appreciate the fact he’s wanted to hold all the strings in his own hands, I think he could’ve used some help with the visuals. Now it’s mostly hand-drawn colourful pictures that could’ve been done by someone who’s still in elementary school. And of course there are flowers and hearts all over the covers. What a cliché. The lyrics move along the same lines.
At this point I must make clear that I greatly enjoy some bands that could be labelled as hippie music, but this just doesn’t do it for me. It’s too safe and light. If one wants to put out this type of melodic stuff, the song material should be much stronger than it is here. The variety of sounds and approaches isn’t what it has been for example on Octopus Syng’s previous releases. Now listening to the whole album feels just like 45 minutes of torture.