“Sway” Another Solid Release From Blue October

Courtesy: Up/Down Records

Courtesy: Up/Down Records

Texas based quartet Blue October is set to release its latest album, Sway in a couple of weeks.  The band has become known over the course of its previous six albums for crafting very broad and emotional songs.  This album is no different.  Singer/guitarist Justin Furstenfeld noted in an interview about the album, “This album is about why life is so beautiful.  It’s about facing fears and recognizing miracles every day.  It’s about enjoying yourself and realizing that life is not something you can half-ass.”  That description couldn’t be more right.  Sway’s thirteen tracks run from a very deep and emotional place, and eventually build later in the album to a much heavier sound before removing itself once more in the final tracks to a more reserved sound.

One of the most noticeable factors that makes the sound of this album so rich would have to be the string arrangements that are peppered throughout the songs.  Set against Furstenfeld’s vocal style, the string arrangements add so much emotion to the songs on which they are laid.  They don’t overpower the rest of the arrangements from one song to the next.  Rather, they work almost symbiotically.  That could easily be attributed to the fact that Furstenfeld wrote or co-wrote most of the songs on this album.  It was also produced by Furstenfeld.  He was joined by David Castell, who had also manned the boards twice before for the band on its 2003 album, History for Sale and again in 2006 for Foiled.  That familiarity was certain to have played a role in the balance of the string arrangements to the rest of the parts in each song in which they appear.        

The familiarity between Furstenfeld and Castell played an obviously positive role in the balance of the string arrangements to the rest of the music on Sway.  The general musical output was obviously affected by the partnership between the pair, too.  What audiences get throughout the course of this latest release is an album with clear pop sensibilities in every track.  Whether in the softer songs that populate the majority of the album, or the more rock oriented ‘Hard Candy’, ‘Put It In’ and ‘Things We Do At Night’, every song on this album has its own identity.  And it’s because each song has its own identity, the band shows once again exactly what Furstenfeld had noted in his interview about the album.  The musical gamut of this album presents so many different emotions.  Set alongside the album’s lyrical content, it’s even clearer.

A prime example of the lyrical diversity that makes Sway even more successful is ‘Things We Do At Night.’  The song itself is a nice up-tempo piece that could be fitting for a party.  Furstenfeld adds to that positive vibe as he sings in the song’s chorus, “Things we do at night/We’re keeping it together until the morning light/When you’re nobody/You wanna be somebody/But somebody forget to tell everyone/There’s a party/All you have to do is show/I say oh oh oh oh/Just let that s*** go/Yeah, take control.”  It’s so easy to listen to this song, and see the lights flashing and bodies dancing as the band performs.  By contrast, the far more reserved and emotional ‘Not Broken Anymore’ shows that other end of life. It’s one of those songs that exemplified Furstenfeld noting the album is also “about facing fears and recognizing life is so beautiful.”He sings, “I’ve seen the empty deep/I dammed up the waterflow…You are the ship that kept me afloat/Can you tell me that you’re real/So that I can really know/Now everything I can feel/I can finally show/Standing next to me/Hope the person I can be/it’s finally here/And he won’t back down at all/But I can’t stop thinking/How you just keep making sense/Of all that’s broken before.”  It goes on in this same vein.  But it is obvious through this amount just how emotional song this is.  It’s the direct opposite of ‘Things We Do At Night.’  And by comparison to the album’s other songs, it becomes that much more emotionally hard hitting.  It’s just one more part of the whole that makes this another album that long time fans of the band will appreciate just as much as those that are not as familiar with the band’s work.  Sway will be available Tuesday, August 20th in stores and online.  It will be available via the band’s official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/blueoctober and the band’s official website, http://www.blueoctober.com. Audiences can also go to either page to keep up with all of the latest updates on the album and the band’s upcoming tour in support of Sway, too.

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