Emotional Oil is the missing link in Octagrape’s wild early 4-track jam spigot, sandwiched snug right in between the As Long As I Forget 7″ and Red UFO LP. All four songs came together in the few weeks preceding Octagrape’s quick run up the west coast February 2013.”Eternal Hair” is Jason Begin’s first octasong, with Glen Galloway scrawling mad vocal lines about careening tornado phobias and mistaken identity over top. With its scrawny guitar-army opening and be-gnarled climactic atonal end, it immediately lodged itself as a forever staple in the live set. “Teenage Baboons” is a song about Jell-O sunlight capturing and pixilating all possible future nostalgias. It came right before New Year’s in between icy beach going attempts. Not long after it was consumed by the group – and Otis, Jason and Ely found a boxy used acoustic Flying V on a trip up to Seattle for Glen to hack-strum the baboon song out on.
Since Side B is an etching (more on that), Side A’s halfway point feels like the record flip. “Soviets.” A monster riff Glen somehow unearthed while connecting Major Stars to Modulo 1000, bouncing low sparks off a couple slapback glammed out verses. It pulls its cold-war glow from a secret stash of ancient vacuum tube storerooms hidden deep in the San Bernardino mountains; keep your comrade warm. The EP’s closer is “9-Eyed Lion”, and it bulldozes like some schlep ghostwriting sosngs about unanimous relating with Mott The Hoople. There’s a clear sense of the royal stalking pain of a ravenous beast that’s got you and yours completely surrounded, keeping the entire village up in shifts all night. Lighters. There is conquest, drool, saber-rattling, capture/freedom, and a roaring return to the question, “Was it ever?”
Art for the album was a lucky collision of well-placed drawings/draggings that sat in corner of Glen’s room for several months before anyone noticed it looked exactly like these four songs sound. Half-logic that totally proves there is an awkward ecstasy in stretching, craning, retaining – pulling vision out of its empirical socket and returning it sharp. The etching on the B-side was a doodle from the desk of young Jude Galloway, reinterpreted on vinyl by none other than John Ringhofer (Half-handed Cloud). Cutaway: all the mind is a stage. All the required stages are out of sequence. There is a podium and a feeding-back mic for you to sing epically through to your own frontal lobe.
Emotional Oil found a rushed soft digital release just before the Feb 2013 mini-tour; but it wasn’t until almost a year later (getting ready for trip/tour back east) that a proper release began being seriously plotted over a spread of hot Indian foods at Sounds Familyre headquarters. Finally the wait was over. The euphoric choogling clang sounds of Emotional Oil would be cut to wax and heard as they were always meant to be.
1. Eternal Hair
2. Teenage Baboons
4. 9 Eyed Lion