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October Project

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Album Review

During their three years with Sony Music, October Project released two recordings of gothic MOR before being dropped by the label and disbanding. This self-titled debut is just slightly rawer than its successor, but fans of October Project's dark, melodic attempts at poetic rock will definitely approve of the 1993 release's lush collection of mid-tempo goth pop. Sounding like Stevie Nicks and Peter Steel's lovechild, singer Mary Fahl powers the band with her deep, haunting voice, and fast vibrato. Fahl is a completely unique artist, sounding like no other vocalist of her era. Fans of female contemporaries (especially Fiona Apple) might want to check out October Project just to hear Fahl's smoky vocal approach. In what was a rather strange band lineup, Fahl sang lyrics written by non-musician (and wife October Project keyboardist/songwriter Emil Adler) Julie Flanders. It isn't that unusual for a band to look outside its own ranks for material, but rarely will a songwriter (or especially a lyricist) receive equal billing as the musicians — especially without significant prior credits and with fairly modest abilities. Flanders' new age rhyming was October Project's weakest link with its tiring and predictable imagery. Especially agitating is the near-constant naturalist references to the sun, the rain, the distant miles of desert, etc....To craft her symbolism, the lyricist simply matches a natural element with the particular experiencial phase that the ever-present "you" and "I" of her vague relationship poetry are dealing with: good times (sun), bad time (rain), emotional distant (why, distant miles of dry desert, of course). That's not to suggest that all the romantic mysticism doesn't occasionally hit the mark. Memorable tracks like "Return to Me" and "Take Me As I Am" do overcome their sticky language with lush melodies and professional performances. The trick to enjoying October Project is to simply not take it nearly as seriously as it takes itself.


Formed: 1989

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s

In their brief, three-year career, October Project released two albums stuffed to the seams with soaring, sweeping, aching melodies. Their intense, plaintive pop songs are tinged with the influence of both the alternative pop and new age movements of the 1990s, but they seem to have more in common with Broadway musicals than with any other pop musicians (although the band has admitted a similarity to early Jefferson Airplane recordings). Both of the latter comparisons are in large measure due to...
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October Project, October Project
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