It surely has been a season in Hell for October Fall. This Chicago band has had quite an amount of drama over the past few months. With the unexpected dismissal of their bass player and questionable tourmates, there’s been a backlash from their old fan base. However, their past few tours have been gaining them more and more fans, and with a stint on Fall Out Boy’s upcoming arena tour, the kids are gonna eat this up.
All situations aside, it’s easy for me to say that this is a well written pop album. That’s right. It’s a straight up pop album. If you try to classify this as anything else, you’re just trying to nitpick at it. Try to picture if you will, a harmony-heavy, adolescent Something Corporate and you’ll have a feel for October Fall’s sound.
“Second Chances” opens the album with a spacey synth part that is joined by the bands’ normal instruments of choice. The tame verse builds up into an explosive chorus and the song proceeds to burst through your speakers and grab your attention. Then out of nowhere, there’s a country part in the middle of the song. I don’t know what prompted the band to put it there, but it seems like it fits.
“Caught In the Rain” has a melody that makes me think of an older song that I can’t remember the name or lyrics for, but I know it sounds similar to something. The beat of this song actually kind of makes me want to dance. It’s not a dance song by any means, but it’s danceable. I know that sounds contradictory, but listen to the song and you’ll probably want to grab someone and start spinning around.
The third track, which happened to be the original title of this album, “Keep Dreaming Upside Down,” is my favorite track here. During the bridge, we can hear female vocals come out of nowhere. They’re from none other than Paramore’s Hayley Williams. We all know I’m a sucker for this girl’s voice. It mixes with Pat’s for an amazing harmony, and that helps this song stick out. The drums for this song pound away and are another point you’ll probably focus on when listening.
“Walking,” which was made available on Purevolume and Myspace last year, tones things down a bit and gets serious lyrically. It’s another strong track that if you didn’t hear it before, you’ll enjoy more and more with every listen.
“It Was Summer…(Baby Steps)” would be an ideal single if the chorus was as energetic as the previous songs’. This is radio-ready material right here. These guys can craft a damn good pop song. I really like this track and my only complaint is the lack of the explosive chorus it deserves.
A SoCo-song-worthy piano part leads off “Tounge Tied.” It’s slower than the other songs, but it’s not a skippable track. I absolutely love Pat’s voice on this song. He hits some great notes all throughout it. The chorus starts off whispered and builds up, and it’s a great display of Pat’s range.
For a long time, “Hey Hey” was the only song anyone had to listen to on Purevolume and Myspace. The album version has been slightly modified, but if you’re familiar with the song, you’ll notice some of the notes in the instrumentation have been changed. The lyrics and vocals are pretty much the same. The piano sticks out way more in this version than the demo.
“Here We Go From the Top” is more of the same. It’s another song with a strong vocal display.
“Keep It Comin’ ” hops around from traditional rock to electronic. It’s complete with the spiteful lyrics that the “Taking Shape” EP had.
The last two songs on the album were the only ones I didn’t enjoy listening to as much as the others.
Like them or hate them, October Fall have delivered a debut full of songs that showcase the band’s pop-sensibilities. Anyone can write a pop song. It’s hard to write ENJOYABLE pop-songs. That’s what these are. I enjoyed listening to this album. Couple the enjoyable melodies with the synth lines that are sprinkled throughout the songs, and the different instrumentation here and there, and you’ve got a nice departure from normal piano-rock. Pat has a knack for writing catchy, hook-filled songs. I’m a sucker for them. I’m a sucker for this album. It’s my new guilty pleasure. This band isn’t here for “scene cred.” They’re here to make something of themselves, and if marketed correctly, this album should get into the right hands to make these guys relatively big.
1. Second Chances
2. Caught in the Rain
3. Keep Dreaming Upside Down
5. It Was Summer…(Baby Steps)
6. Tounge Tied
7. Hey Hey
8. Here We Go From the Top
9. Keep It Comin’
10. A Part of Me
11. If We’re All Alone, Aren’t We In This Together