To Amplifier’s credit, The Octopus is not a customary concept album that’s bloated with senseless instrumentation or an intrusive narrative. However, if you’re going to have me listen to an album whose length spans the entirety of the Ramones ‘70’s output, there needs to be something for me to latch onto. There are some cool parts to momentarily treasure (I could name them, but nitpicking with an album this large would take up far too much space), but, for those who even finish the damn thing, Amplifier will come off sounding like a wannabe Porcupine Tree that thought they could one-up the prog factor in all the wrong ways. I’ve never felt trapped listening to an album, but, when you realize somewhere between “Trading Dark On the Stock Exchange” and “The Sick Rose” (which both might as well be recordings of appliances humming they’re so unmemorable) that you’ve still got another hour to go, it’s hard not to wonder how many better things you could be doing with those sixty minutes, an option of which may very well be doing nothing.
The Octopus doesn’t receive an F, because, on a track-by-track basis, it is a lot easier to digest, and, thus, a lot easier to appreciate. However, it’s rather daunting to be placed in front of those irrevocable two hours when planning to listen to it, and I’m here to tell you that, unfortunately, it’s as tough getting through them as it appears. Amplifier have the potential to be an excellent rock band, as evidenced by The Octopus, and the album certainly sounds better when you give it the chance, but it’s an unfortunate possibility that so many will choose not to hear it, because of its rather unnecessary length.