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Blue October - Any Man In America

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Blue October

Any Man In America

 

Justin Furstenfeld - lead vocals, guitar

Jeremy Furstenfeld - drums, percussion

Ryan Delahoussaye - violin/viola, mandolin, piano, backing vocals

Matt Noveskey - bass guitar, backing vocals

Julian Mandrake - lead guitar

 

Blue October has got people who love them and people that can’t stand them. I have heard both sides. The band was formed in 1995 by front man Justin, his brother Jeremy and Ryan D. They caught the eye of Michael Rand, which turned into a lot of gigs for the band. This eventually led to where they are today. Back in 1998 the band released their first album The Answers. It was well-received and sold over 5K copies in Houston alone. That same year they caught the eye of Universal Records, which they signed to and released their sophomore record Consent to Treatment. They then were dropped by them in 2002, but marched on with a self-release History for Sale, which sparked a re-signed and a re-release of the record from Universal. Their next release Foiled reached a new audience giving them an opportunity to travel and tour to new places. They also released an updated version of the album titled Foiled for the Last Time in 2007. The fifth album came in 2009 while a live acoustic recorded set arrived in early 2011. The new full length album also arrived in 2011 as Any Man In America was released in August. The Album begins with “Everything (AM Limbo)” a short minute tune that just glides by and sets up “The Feel Again (Stay).” It’s a soft track that will have you sitting back and relaxing with your feet up. It has a great groove as it builds up to a huge sound. The track is a larger than life feel as well as being a little mystical sounding. The vocals are just amazing and the music really lifts them up even more. It is a very nice way to begin the album. “The Money Tree” throws in some funky beats while the standout vocals take control of this track like the last. It’s easy to listen to and it gets you into it quickly. I do like the change of music style, but it seems to go on a bit too long. A shorter version of this tune might do the trick and really rock. “For the Love” has a small voiceover to open it up. This is easily a track that a lot of people can get into. It once again changes up the music and this time it changes up the vocals too. They have the same presents, but they speed them up. They roll into a fast section where lyrics just stream off the tongue. It’s something a lot of people can enjoy and it’s easy to get into. There are many instruments flying around, but they all seem to fit well, and I really like the ending of the tune. “Drama Everything”  has an R&B/Pop Rap feel; is Pop Rap even something? Well it is now, but anyways this is a track many people will gobble up like Thanksgiving Dinner while others will hear the first section and skip it. This unfortunately is one of those tracks that you like or not. It’s not something that might grow on you. The vocals do get on your nerves a bit and the music is so-so. “The Chills” goes rock star on your ass for the opening. The huge guitars and drums will perk up your ears. They do take a step back with the intensity for the verses, but spike back up for the choruses. They bridge the two with some weird “ooo’s” that I don't think work very well. If they could have come up with something better for those bridges and transitions the song would be top notch, but with those small distractions it take the offering down a letter. The track is a huge wave of sounds and vocals. I can still see many people, including myself taking a listen from time to time. “The Flight (LNK to MSP)” is the longest tune on the album which opens up with a nice easy sound and a voiceover. They then will take you by surprise when the rap vocals slide in for a takeover. The backing vocals even have a rap style to them. I have to say that I’m not a rap guy except for a couple of tracks, but this catches your ear and will have you staying around. The lyrical content is PA, but the overall vibe of the tune is something many people can get stuck in their head and repeat. I think it’s a middle of the road track, but it could blow up if the right situations arise for it. The title cut “Any Man In America” has some speedy rap style vocals, but they aren’t bad. They do give way to normal vocals that deliver a great set of lyrics that will have many fans screaming them right along with the band. You can tell the emotion in this track as it rolls on. It strolls along until a topic arises and they snap. This is a killer tune that I will play for a really long time. This will be a huge song that should grab a lot of people’s attention. “You Waited Too Long” is a descent track that offers up some killer guitars and solid drums. The vocals again though take over the track as they deliver some more strong lyrics. Its lets you get your rock on while yelling the lyrics. “The Honesty” is a middle of the track tune. The sound is a little catchy while you can pick up the lyrics fairly easy. It’s not something that I see sticking in your head or you coming back to very often. “The Getting Over It Part” has a nice beat and some great descriptive lyrics, but it lacks interesting elements. It does have big drums and vocals, but not enough to hold much interest. The softness of the tune gets a bit over used. However, the backing vocals pick it up just a bit. The “lalalala” section just kills it though in album form. A live stage would give them some time to run with it and really work it in well. There is also a verse right after the first “lalala’s” that hits right where it needed to. It helps out the album, but I still feel like the “lalala’s” and the cluster-fuck the ending is hurts it bad. “The Worry List” is super slow and doesn’t get you excited. It gives you a chance to rest and collect your thoughts for the final track from the album “The Follow Through.” The track sounds much like the last track, but they insert some additional vocals. It really doesn’t do much for you either. It kind of hurts your ears with everything going on. Overall this is an enjoyable release for the most part. There are some blah tracks sprinkled in with some high powered numbers. I was pleasantly surprised just like I was with their last release. They seem to be able to reinvent themselves from track to track which offers up tracks for everyone. The only bad thing is that I’m sure a fan can’t like nearly everything from the band. There are numbers that are going to go huge while others will be left in the dust without many takers. The vocals really star in each track as the deliver with passionate the lyrics that ride along with them. The music comes second in many instances. There are a few flair-ups, but they maintain a low key stature for the most part. I’d definitely take a listen to this album. 

 

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Tracks to Watch:

The Chill, Any Man In America

 

Track List:

  1. Everything (AM Limbo)
  2. The Feel Again (Stay)
  3. The Money Tree
  4. For the Love
  5. Drama Everything
  6. The Chills
  7. The Flight (LNK to MSP)
  8. Any Man In America
  9. You Waited Too Long
  10. The Honesty
  11. The Getting Over It Part
  12. The Worry List
  13. The Follow Through

Website (s): www.blueoctober.com   

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