I’ll be honest, I never really followed Blue October. More honest? I never really tried to get into them either. I was aware of them, being a music nerd and someone who was in record store retail for ten plus years, but never really dug in. In conclusion, I know dick about Blue October.
But that’s the beauty of a cold review, right? No expectations. No comparisons to former sounds, glory, hits, etc. Just honest feedback.
So here it is.
Back in the day before the instant gratification culture we find ourselves in today, I used to love getting into what I though was a “new” band only to discover they had several releases out already and then being able to track down and devour whatever else the band had to offer. After hearing I Hope You’re Happy, Blue October’s ninth full-length, I’d be happy to revisit those old practices again.
That heavy beat that permeates throughout “Daylight” which builds into Justin Furstenfeld’s eloquent delivery, being continually layered and coming at listeners like a hymn before climaxing in the glorious electro bombast of the chorus brings to mind something that Genesis would come up with if they were still making music with Peter Gabriel today.
And that’s just the first track.
“Your Love Is Like A Car Crash” is like UNKLE with Gavin Clark at the helm (Remember the scene at the end of the second X-Files flick where Mulder and Scully are adrift in a boat? That’s Clark’s UNKLE) In other words, we’re in trip-hop territory, baby!
Then “I Want To Come Back Home” is just frelling gorgeous with this familiar vocal line to start (Echoes of INXS’ “Disappear” are definitely here) and a huge symphonic arrangement that resonates and reverberates throughout the track, adding a huge accompaniment to Jeremy Furstenfeld’s already massive drum performance on this track.
“Colors Collide” is a dark, droning masterpiece with Justin Furstenfeld delivering an epic vocal performance layering the foundation with a smooth sing-song while his spoken word (Akin to Shawn Smith of Brad/Satchel) grows into this intense bark to make the track stand out on an album of stand outs.
“Remission In Cmaj” is a somber instrumental piano-driven ditty that leads into the similarly solemn sounds of “How To Dance In Time” before the uplifting sounds of “King” come in to completely change the atmosphere.
“Let Forever Mean Forever” treads Rogue Wave territory with its’ quiet, acoustic intro then drives off into another realm as it grows into this triumphant anthem as “All That We Are” feeds off that anthemic vocal performance and grows even more grand in its’ sonic scope. Not grand enough? Howzabout the almost ten minute “Further Dive (The House That Dylan Built)” which closes out IHYH and blankets it in synthetic sweetness to end the album in the most serenely grandiose way.
I Hope You’re Happy is out on August 17th via Up/Down & Brando Records. You can pre-order your very own in a variety of formats by clicking here or here. For more on Blue October, including where to catch them live on their current tour, click here.