Album review: BLUE OCTOBER – Sway

Up/Down Records www.blueoctober.com [Release date 26.08.13]

Blue October are one of those bands that mean a big deal in their native US yet have yet to make a big splash over here in the UK and Europe. If you give this album a listen then like me you will soon become a fan as this is one joyous listen from start to finish. What makes it so good?

Two elements really stand out for me, the vocals of Justin Furstenfeld that swoop from a soothing whisper like on the title track to more of a rock belter on ‘Bleed Out’. Secondly the strings and synth/musical arrangements are simply stunning, putting bands like Coldplay to shame. Opener ‘Breathe, It’s Over’ is a perfect example or ‘Angels In Everything’ where the strings become the riff and the song reminded me of Live in their more reflective moments.

‘Bleed Out’ starts with a quite piano then builds in leaps and bounds. Again the vocals and the musical arrangements are the key to the song’s success and the passionate vocal delivery is something else, with the chorus a real melodic dream. The band certainly provide thought provoking and uplifting lyrics, none more so than on ‘Fear’, a real pick-me-up song.

Little bit of Queens of the Stone Age in the riff to ‘Hard Candy’, an arena sized anthem if ever there was one. Think that’s good? Wait till you hear ‘Things We Do At Night’, with a big drum sound (think Imagine Dragons by way of Cozy Powell) and guitar riff, with angelic vocal harmonies weaving throughout the song.

Buy/download this album when it is released and see what we’ve been missing this side of the pond all of this time. This album will glide into my year end best of list with ease and I am sure many other peoples too.

****1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie


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