Rocktopus may have the worst name in the history of rock, but for whatever reason, it is actually their music that earned them the “best local pop rock act” title in the Portland, ME media. People just don’t recognize a band’s real talent any more. Although, having said that, Something Fierce is a surprisingly good album, one of those records that comes along once in a while just to remind you that music can be as naively charming and fun as it ever was, without resorting to nostalgia or clichéd solutions. And so, when Rocktopus do rip songs off, it’s from greats like Big Star (whose classic “Feel” obviously “inspired” “Leaving Town”), or Wings (the entire album is full of cleverly twisted McCartney-isms).
Rocktopus may seem forever stuck in a high school prom circa 1981, performing Cheap Trick-sized teen anthems alongside glossy Top 40 disco pop hits. Yet, there’s something unique and exciting about the band that makes this seem as relevant today as ever before — perhaps because this music wasn’t all that relevant in the first place? There really aren’t a lot of bands doing this kind of thing today, and certainly nowhere near as good as this. Ironically, that somehow makes them both highly original and highly contemporary, despite all 1970s power-pop leanings.