Album Review of Sway by Blue October
Across the pond, Blue October are a platinum selling, venue cramming band. In the UK, the love for this Texas based band has been slower building but every bit as dedicated as our US brethren. With this fan base, Blue October have secured over 4,000 pledges on their Pledge Music campaign for the creation of their forthcoming album Sway, which sets sail August 26th.
There is a sound so uniquely Blue October that runs through every track they create, without having that problematic effect of making everything they do sound the same. This album is the most recent example of that, so refreshing and yet so comfortably and obviously the work of Blue October with their trademark guitar picking melodies and beautifully honest lyrics.
Breathe It’s Over is the album’s introduction. The vocals are haunting, drifting like a ghost over the slow string instrumentation. The track is a preparation for the rest of the album, it’s meaning literally Breathe – It’s Over, as singer Justin Furstenfeld breathes out his past demons and lets go, ready to take us through the rest of the album.
Jumping head first in to Sway, the album title track, the door is opened in to the positive, life affirming theme for the rest of this album. The track itself really does make you sway, it makes you close your eyes and really listen to Justin’s words – “Forget about the troubles. Forget about the drama.” This soft and hopeful approach continues to the next track Angels In Everything, it’s verses rolling quickly in to those big, climbing choruses Blue October have down to a fine art form.
Debris and Fear thrum slow and steady as Justin’s hypnotic voice pulls you deeper and deeper in to the album until you are lost, completely consumed by this band’s brilliance at writing the most moving, motivating and meaningful songs. Tracks like Hard Candy and Put It In rock hard with edgy vocals over driving guitars and big drums. They pound through the speakers in all of their atmospheric glory, boasting choruses worthy of belting performances in the shower or car. The band’s influences are obvious in this album, dark like The Smiths and U2 but with that quirky little spin which is so very The Cure.
Love is a huge factor in this album – some tracks truly romantic. For any listener of Blue October, it’s clear that Justin Furstenfeld’s past darkness is something that has helped to create their wonderfully dark and hopeful songs as well as a loyal fan base.
But, with tracks like Angels In Everything, Debris and Things We Do At Night – and really just the album in itself, it’s easy to see that our favourite tormented soul is on the mend and still creating some of the most powerful and emotional music out there.
The album Sway is out August 26th, 2013
Review by Hev Bailey