Once in a while a band comes along with a genuinely innovative, exciting sound – one that prompts you to think “wow” without even a tinge of irony. Blue October are not one of these bands. The album’s derivative mediocrity simply leaves you apathetically pondering “why?”. Why does singer/songwriter/guitarist Justin Furstenfeld cite The Flaming Lips as influences and then produce enough self-indulgent emo angst to rival My Chemical Romance? And why on earth did Imogen Heap even deign to collaborate on one of the tracks?
Possibly, Furstenfeld suffers from an aural colour blindness and Heap needed to fill her quota of charitable deeds for the year. Yet, there is hope – single ‘Hate Me is the US’ was most requested track on alternative radio. Ignoring the opening voicemail from Furstenfeld’s mum, the verses possess a melodic facility reminiscent of the Goo Goo Dolls when they were “dizzy[ing] up” that poor girl. Tolerable stuff, until the “feel my pain” guitar solos kick into gear.
Apparently Furstenfeld started work on “Foiled” after a nightmare which prompted him to proclaim, “My brain melted that night”. Well, after a few listens, one feeling the album certainly doesn’t fail to inspire is empathy.