Review Summary: A veiled beauty
Bubblegum Octopus is an experimental electronic project that integrates post-hardcore elements for a screamy, sexy, angsty edge. They’re probably meant to be a joke, but their production value and songwriting talent is sufficient to propel them up to the guilty pleasure tier, or possibly even beyond. Who knows. At this point, you should probably go and listen to a couple of their songs because, thanks to the wonderfully abstract nature of experimental music, I could probably make up a load of trash about what they might sound like and have you believe it. Go ahead, check them out; provide my credentials. However, you will most likely find that your expectations of Bubblegum Octopus were startlingly similar to the music itself, and therein lies the crux of my analysis.
This album can be defined as a tongue-in-cheek fusion of styles that results in a product that can only be truly appreciated when considered in a certain context (i.e. as a sincere yet not serious light-hearted but successful slab of synth hooks, ultrapop melodies and gritty screaming). One could read into the contrast between the hardcore elements and the electronic elements (the latter of which wholeheartedly support the inclusion of ‘bubblegum’ in the band’s name) and deduce that Bubblegum Octopus is a prime example of how a gratuitous dose of adrenaline can elevate the purposefully generic far beyond its caste. However, the greatest worth of Tough
is that, as outlined by the similarities between the expectation of its sound generated from descriptions thereof, and the sound itself, it demonstrates the latent materialism behind ironic music.
An abundance of materialisms concerning the common ground between sexual identity and society exist. It could be said that the term ‘dialectic narrative’ denotes the role of the reader or writer, or in this case the listener as composer – it takes very little time for a new listener to grasp the values behind the materialism in question here (i.e. the music itself) and to adopt the habit commonly referred to as ‘backseat composition’. This is notable because the backseat composer and the actual composer are generally in complete harmony on this album, and this is a reflection of the album’s ability to immerse its audience rather than its predictability.
Bubblegum Octopus must be commended for the tactics it uses to try (perhaps facetiously) to shake the listener off the thread of composition. Soft Sun Spots
contains several surprise lulls in between its infectious verses and Joyous Mist!!!
’s 5 second bass solo caught me completely off guard. However, these sporadic breaks with the band’s personal convention only serve to entice the listener into working their way even further under the album’s skin in retaliation. This process is initiated by the instrumental introduction Pedal Beats Dream
, which allures and distracts simultaneously with its shifting, yet strangely followable glitch.
In the grander scheme of things, this album will be viewed as inconsequential, a mere subpixel on the already grainy blue dot that is planet Earth. However, its proportions of intrinsic truth and reliability raise it beyond the level of the mundane spectrum and propel it into infinite space. A hidden classic that will reveal itself only to its limited range of listeners.