Up/Down-Brando Records [Release date 17.08.18]
Blue October return with their ninth album with expectations high after the excellent ‘Home’ album released in 2016. Vocalist and main songwriter Justin Furstenfeld is in a happy place in his personal life being a proud and doting dad judging by his various social media posts. This is reflected in the album’s general upbeat air in the music which is a mixture of rock, dance, 80′s influences, indie, pop and more.
The title track and ‘How To Dance In Time’ are the album’s lead songs, both have wonderfully uplifting melodies and emotive lyrics. Blue October have the knack of recording deeply personal music that can connect to a wider audience.
The upbeat air comes through on ‘Let Forever Mean Forever’, whilst opener ‘Daylight’ adds in beats, effects – reminiscent of Imagine Dragons. The rhythm section of drummer Jeremy Furstenfeld and bassist Matt Noveskey keep the beat tight, modern and tasty.
Fans of the band’s earlier albums may not be overly taken by the dance/pop of ’I Want To Come Back Home’, however the band always evolve on each album and that is part of the attraction about them. ‘Colours Collide’ is the most ‘in your face’ song, Justin upping the vitriol in his singing, the one song that harks back to the band’s early sound.
What gives Blue October that extra lift above other bands is not only Justin Furstenfeld’s vocals and songs, but the violin and soundscapes created by Ryan Delahoussaye. Take for example ‘Further Dive (The House That Dylan Built)’ where the violin and strings arrangement creates a beautiful ambience midway through. At over nine minutes this is a proper dim the lights, headphones on, and immerse yourself into the music.
Each new album you think: can Blue October top the last one? Well they have done it again, producing an album that reveals more to the listener on each subsequent listen. Blue October are on a creative purple patch and get on their musical ride for another album that hits the musical spot. ****1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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