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Octalux - Loud, Fast, & Awesome

A few years back, somebody somewhere had the excellent idea of mixing the purist rock lifestyle of the 1970's and 1980's (drugs, booze, and WOMEN) with other genres. In fact, it seems like a huge variety of acts all over the rock sub-culture have been getting their grit on lately, and more and more dirtballs just keep springing up.

Lexington, Kentucky's Octalux are one such band. Boozed up and brash, the band doesn't take anything seriously but the good old rock. Hell, they've even named themselves after the Latin word for orgasm! If that doesn't tell you what you're getting on Loud, Fast, & Awesome, I sincerely doubt anything will.

And Loud, Fast, & Awesome it is. Being a metal fan personally, this isn't always too fast, but it is definitely cranked stereo music and a whole lot of fun. The disc flies by at a brisk pace; before you know it, the whole affair is all over. And so, let's face it folks; that's the best part. This CD is one of those short little albums you can spin once, repeat, and enjoy all over again. Despite the energetic optimism amidst all the high-octane rock, there is also some surprisingly strong guitar work (at least amongst the punk crowd) and a sense of folksy chaos. It all adds up to something akin to a "pickup truck flying down a mud road at 120 MPH in the dead of night" vibe.

The fittingly titled "Electric Sex" kicks things off with a band, the band's Motley Crue/Avenged Sevenfold rock being mixed with a hint of punkier groove amidst all that wankery. The amazingly sticking "Hi-5" will be stuck in your head for days, and by no means is this a bad thing. Vocalist Brandon Hurley establishes himself here as a unique frontman; he has an odd, emotive twang to his voice that really struck a chord somewhere in my eardrums.

The darker "Razorblades and Sutures" could be unflinchingly described as Guns and Roses meeting My Chemical Romance for a jam in central Iowa. The slow-burning "S.A.D." is one of the best songs here, and a melancholy rocker that I think would do well on rock radio. The swinging "Unicorn" is an uptempo fist-pumper of optimistic triumph and inspiration. A riff or two vaguely recalls the most mainstream moments of the Smashing Pumpkins, a band I didn't expect to reference in this review.

"H-Bomb" starts off with some soft, lush moping before slowly spreading its wings as a Weezer-like mid-tempo rock song. Despite its name, "Emo Song" is actually one of the best songs on the entire album. In my mind, this stands as the perfect mix of old-school glam-era rock 'n roll and introverted pop-punk rock of now. "Grrl Tron Toledo" is pretty basic pop-punk rock, nothing to write home about. It's not bad, but not amazing either.

"Loser" is bouncy, feel-good rock, and nothing I can bring myself to bash. In fact, I can see it being a guilty pleasure for many people. "Gun Pointed at the Head of the Universe" is yet another fantastic barnstormer of a song, and goes straight for the jugular with upbeat rock.

"E.R.H.I.T." is a low-country cover song that will surprise plenty of people. I didn't see this earthy, punk-drenched cover of one of rock's classics coming at all, and it is a strong end to a strong album. Loud, Fast, & Awesome should mark the start of a new genre of popular rock and it's snotty little brother, punk rock. Many bands are starting to cross punk's speedy spasms with more mature antics, the likes of which are still crass but not nearly as juvenile as say Blink-182. If you want to rock out like mad one crazy Friday night, bring this one along. Oh, and just for the record---"don't drink and drive."

1. Electric Sex
2. Hi-5
3. Razorblades and Sutures
4. S.A.D.
5. Unicorn
6. H-Bomb
7. Emo Song
8. Grrl Tron Toledo
9. Loser
10. Gun Pointed at the Head of the Universe
11. E.R.H.I.T. (cover song)



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