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Okta Logue: Tales of Transit City

Germany-based Okta Logue knows its prog and its classic rock, a fact its sophomore LP Tales of Transit City makes no illusions about. Opener "Transit" kicks things off with an Ozric Tentacles-esque synth before giving way to proggy organ and bluesy guitar. Few would likely be surprised if it was discovered that "Mr. Busdriver" is a long-lost Beatles b-side. "Cats in the Alley" owes quite a bit to Pink Floyd circa The Wall. And then there's the finale of "You," where a guitar solo worthy of Jimmy Page carries Tales of Transit City to a glorious, horn-backed conclusion. This is an album where points of influence and reference are unsubtle, and nearly everything is steeped in retroism.

Yet while some bands might take this formula and repeat it to the point of eye-rolling predictability—a path The Black Keys could end up taking if they keep riffing on Brothers ad nauseaum—Okta Logue never sounds like it's merely aping its predecessors, nor does it offer textbook-worthy performances that only provide the basic features of progressive rock and psychedelic rock's stylistics. For lovers of progressive rock, this is a remarkably joyous record, one that, while relaxed and chilled-out in its mood and production quality, is an obvious homage to the genre—which isn't to say it's a facsimile. There are flourishes here that not only differentiate Okta Logue from the many retro-minded prog outfits but also offer the band considerable crossover appeal. Vocalist and bass player Benno Herz has a voice that's one part Julian Casablancas, one part Luke Pritchard, which has the potential to draw many an indie music enthusaist, a fact bolstered by Tales of Transit City's vinyl-friendly production. Also impressive is how the group maintains an undercurrent of psychedelia without getting caught up in the genre's inherent wooziness, a flaw that other trends in contemporary music (see: chillwave) all too often succumb to.

The icing on the cake? Nearly everything on Tales of Transit City is supremely catchy. "Mr. Busdriver" may owe quite a lot to the Fab Four in its construction, but it's hard to care about that when its hook and the vocal harmonies in the chorus are so damn infectious. The similarities in the music to the work of other bands does make the album disappointing to a degree; as evident as Okta Logue's skill in drawing from its influences is, it'd be even better to hear what it'd sound like for it to run in a direction a little more wild. Taken on its own terms, however, Tales of Transit City is a progressive rock record that both captures the genre's classic style and offers a taste of what this very promising young band has to offer.

Track Listing

1. Transit
2. Mr. Busdriver
3. Dream On
4. Let Go
5. Chase the Day
6. Judith
7. Cats in the Alley
8. Just to Fall Asleep
9. You

Added: October 19th 2013
Reviewer: Brice Ezell
Score:
Hits: 1530
Language: english

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