October-"Consent To Treatment"
Retarded Disfigured Clown
Breakfast After 10
Conversation Via Radio (Do You Ever Wonder?)
Libby I'm Listening
Ask yourself this question. What do you
get when you cross parts of Pearl Jam, "Throwing Copper"-era Live, and
parts of The Dave Matthews Band? You get Blue October. A band that has
toiled in the underground for years until now, finally getting their break
with Universal Records.
The songs on "Consent To Treatment" are
a refreshing break from the usual RapRock, Cute Boy Mall Punk and Wannabe
Hardcore that cluters the rock landscape. These are songs that your average
person can relate to, especially anyone who's ever been through a bad relationship.
The highlight of this entire, tight album
is "Breakfast After 10". The first single released to rock radio paints
a picture of a guy who's dealing with the b.s. of a bad break up. ONLY,
unlike your usual crap on this subject, it flips the script and basically
gives "the finger" to (as a friend of mine calls them) "Confused, Dumb
ass Bitchs" who have no clue what a relationship is or should be.
I highly recommend this album to two groups
1. Fans of Pearl Jam, Live and/or DMB.
2. People who don't like overproduced,
This is a straight up rock album with some
refreshing twists (When was the last time you heard a mandolin, tuba or
E-bow on a rock album?) and I promise you won't be disappointed.
Justin Furstenfeld-vocals, guitar, songwriting
"There's a whole other side of the world
that most people don't see," says Blue October leader Justin Furstenfeld.
That oft-obscured side of life comes into
sharp musical and lyrical focus on Consent to Treatment, Blue October's
first Universal Records release. The consistently riveting album
is a compellingly truthful document of pain, hurt and transcendence whose
emotional immediacy and unflinching honesty stand in sharp contrast to
the glib irony that's come to dominate modern rock. Rejecting cynicism
and transient notions of musical fashionability in favor of more substantial
and enduring values, the Houston, Texas-bred quintet aims straight for
Justin Furstenfeld consistently confronts uncomfortable truths, exploring
the darker regions of the human spirit with the hard-won insight of one's
who's experienced the pain of self-discovery and emerged stronger for the
experience. Such emotionally raw Furstenfeld compositions as
"Independently Happy," "James," "H.R.S.A.," "Amnesia" and "Balance Beam"
resonate with an intensity rooted in personal experience, balancing his
uncanny ability to cut to the truth of provocatively personal issues with
an unmistakable sense of compassion and an enthusiasm for life that balances
the songs' darker leanings.
Just as Furstenfeld's lyrics address the
complexities and contradictions of human experience, his band's audaciously
eclectic yet fiercely focused musical approach defies easy categorization,
as adventurous in its sonic and compositional explorations as Furstenfeld's
lyrics are in their unsparing insights. Eschewing the blunt hard-rock
approach embraced by many of their contemporaries, Blue October confound
expectations by adopting a complex, eclectic sound that combines lyrical
drama, sonic aggression and gorgeous melodicism, with Ryan Delahousseaye's
inventive violin work serving as a striking counterpoint to the hard-hitting
base provided by bassist Matt Noveskey and drummer Jeremy Furstenfeld (Justin's
Consent to Treatment-produced by veteran
studio hand Nick Launay, whose stellar resume includes albums by Silverchair,
Midnight Oil, Semisonic, Talking Heads, INXS, Girls Against Boys and Killing
Joke- brilliantly encapsulates Blue October's expansive musical vision,
with the band's ambitious soundscapes providing a brilliant framework for
Justin's introspective lyrics and impassioned vocals, and the band's imaginative
excursions. Another reflection of the band's consistent refusal to
be bound by genre restrictions is the presence of renowned New Age pianist
George Winston, who lends some convincingly-and uncharacteristically-dark
atmosphere to the album's epic closing track "The Answer."
Blue October's provocative stance derives
from the creative vision and personal background of founder Justin Furstenfeld.
"I grew up on bands like the Smiths, the Pixies, Bauhaus, the Cocteau Twins
and This Mortal Coil-my father would throw the tapes out the window because
he thought they were too depressing and morbid. I was in a
lot of bands before Blue October, but none of them captured the emotion
that I originally got from the music I loved as a teenager, and they didn't
really touch on the issues that were important to me. Then we all
decided to make a move to San Marcos, Texas, which was two and a half-hours
away from our homes and our parents. I had moved up there with a
person who I thought was my soulmate. Well, the relationship collapsed
during the month of October, and that was it.
"As a teenager, I had been obsessed with
the darker, melancholy side of life, and fascinated by all these eclectic
sounds and stories of emotional turmoil, and then, bam, it happened to
me and changed my whole view of how I saw music. And that's
how Blue October got started. Then it was 'Okay, am I really gonna
do this?' At a certain point, I had to make a decision about whether
we want to pussyfoot around or do this full-force, and really go for it
and talk about these issues. I decided to go with it face-first.
If you're gonna limit yourself, it's not art."
In 1997, Blue October took its first steps
into the recording medium by independently releasing their debut album,
The Answer, which sold over 5,000 copies in the Houston area. "The first
album," according to Justin, "was very slow, very soft, very eclectic.
It was about being a teenager, dealing with drugs, relationships and growing
up. Consent to Treatment is more like, 'Okay, now let's get past all that
teen stuff and get on with our lives and be more positive,' and trying
to bring up issues in a positive way."
Through diligent regional touring, Blue
October developed a solid work ethic and built a rabidly loyal following
with its musically and emotionally riveting live performances. Even
after the band signed with Universal Records in the fall of 1999 and began
recording Consent to Treatment in Los Angeles, they still managed to shuttle
back and forth to Texas to play live shows. "When Blue October gets on
stage, it's not a show for me," Justin explains. "There's crying,
there's yelling, there's screaming. It's a big nervous breakdown
for an hour and a half, and that's the beauty of it."
Justin views Blue October's lyrical soul-baring
as therapeutic, with the confrontation of painful truths carrying healing
value for both artist and audience. "I think Blue October's a very
positive thing, trying to open people's minds and show the world that there
are these things in all of our closets that shouldn't be shoved back in.
I think if people would open up a little more and be willing to cry in
public, they would realize that everybody else is as vulnerable as they
He's quick to add, though, "Blue October
touches on a lot of serious issues, but it's just as important that the
music rocks and the melodies are catchy. If you can get people's heads
bobbing, then you can start getting them to understand what you're saying.
Furstenfeld concludes, "This record may
be way too deep for people and they may not
get it, but I feel like I have to try,".
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Album Art and Bio courtesy
of Blue October and Universal Records. All Rights Reserved by Copyright