The Octanes: Roots, Rock, and Romance

Posted by drew On January - 13 - 20124,116 views



I was lucky enough to snag a copy of the latest CD from The Octanes. For those of you unfamiliar with the Houston, Texas roots rock group, you’ll be in for a treat. The CD opens with a rock ’em, sock ’em piece of cow-pop called “Can’t Be Friends.” The song grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go till it’s over. From there, it confidently moves into the danceable, boot scooters like the Cajun-fried “Louisana Radio” and the swing era throwback “Don’t Flip Your Lid.”


Genre bending seems to be on the menu. Country, Rock ‘N’ Roll, Swing, and Blues are all blitzed through in a playful manner. This is a fun collection of songs for sure. But thankfully it’s not all whimsy. My favorite track on the album is a somber tune called “Where Were You.” It’s a little slower and a lot darker, with more complex word play, bringing favorably to mind the early work of Dallas “Alt-Country” royalty, The Old 97’s. But before you get too bummed out, it follows up with my second favorite song on the CD, a Buck Owens-esque diddy called “The Facts.” It’s one of those songs that gets your toes tapping. All of the songs are good, but these two are gems.


If I have one criticism of the CD, it’s that it doesn’t quite live up to the bands live shows. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them a few times, in both their Houston and Austin incarnations. Simply put, front-man, Adam Burchfield is one of the best live performers in Texas. I believe no recording can ever fully capture the intensity of a live band, but this is a good try and there is no shame of it falling a little short. The difference is likely that in recording the band skews a little more towards country, while live it leans towards Rock ‘N’ Roll. Now, I love country, but as an aging punk rocker, I’ll always lean more towards the Rock end of “Rockabilly.” All that said, I highly suggest you pick up this CD. It’s a great soundtrack for big skies, big cars, and big nights out. Be it in Texas or anywhere else in the world!

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