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Octoberman | These Trails Are Old And New (White Whale)
After years trapped in a moribund world of Barenaked Ladies, Blue Rodeo and Bryan Adams, the Canadian music scene seems to be throwing off its MOR shackles - witness triumphant releases by Arcade Fire, Stars and, more recently, Broken Social Scene. Whether Vancouver's Octoberman can be added to that list of successful Canucks remains to be seen, but in 'These Trails Are Old And New' they are having a good try.
Essentially a vehicle for Mark Morrissette, Octoberman offer a traditional take on; lightly-strummed guitars, voice high in the mix, with glockenspiel, mandolin and cello fleshing out his confessional songs. Morrissette created Octoberman while taking a break from Vancouver indie hipsters Kids These Days. He embarked on a four-month worldwide back-packing vacation with his girlfriend and came back forever changed. On arriving home, he had twelve new songs, a distinctive theme for a solo release and a refined look at how the world really works, from Hanoi to New York. Naming himself Octoberman after an early Kids These Days EP, he re-recorded a few tracks, rewrote others and produced 'These Trails are Old And New', recounting his days on the road, all sung in a weather-beaten voice that belies his age.

John Stacey
April 2006