Amplifier: The Octopus

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With something of a chequered history with record labels, it was starting to look like one of the UK’s best-kept secrets in matters of expansive rock brilliance were destined to remain a secret. However, 2011 may bring something of a redress for Amplifier.

The Octopus might be only their third album in 10 years but it does a good job of making up for lost time. If 2004’s self-titled debut was an unholy three-way pile-up between Soundgarden’s Superunknown, The Verve’s A Storm In Heaven and Radiohead’s Kid A, then this two-disc monolith is a multi-faceted journey into untold music dimensions.

The infectious pop sensibility has been sidelined for something altogether more intense and overpowering – try the galvanised anthemry of The Wave, or the prog-olific might of Minion’s Song. The grating riff weight is present as ever – and still sounds like more than the sum of the three people producing it – but this time it’s welded to a cosmic quagmire of sonic maximalism.

That they drop in some sci-fi occultism (Trading Dark Matter On The Stock Exchange), fire a payload into the heart of the Sun (Interstellar) and fall into a hallucinogenic haze (Bloodtest) along the way should make this album the first essential purchase of the year.