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Blue October - 'Any Man In America' http://ns2.rocktopiarecords.com/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/51/9b/72/1700_blueoctoberanymaninamerica_1322600809.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 29, 2011    
 
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This album is not for the faint hearted.

Blue October is an alternative rock band from Houston, Texas. Although they are largely unknown in the UK, they have shifted four million albums in the US largely on the back of their platinum selling fourth studio album ‘Foiled’ in 2006. For album number six ‘Any Man In America’, frontman Justin Furstenfield has taken the bold move of using it as an audio journal to bear his soul on the acrimonious break up of his marriage and the custody battle for his young daughter.

Here’s the thing. Musicians who view their music as art often lose sight of the fact that music first and foremost should entertain their audience. So using the music to catalogue a deeply personal issue such as this can often polarise opinion. But credit to Justin and the rest of the band: brother Jeremy (drums) and Ryan Delahoussaye (everything else!), they just about pull it off.

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This is largely down to Justin’s impassioned vocals being set against a lavish backdrop of sweeping melodies and instrumentation, as he takes the listener through a myriad of emotions from anger to despair, regret and eventual acceptance at the loss of his marriage and custody of his daughter. The feel of the album is reminiscent of Five For Fighting’s ‘America Town’, or dare I say it anything by Coldplay. The band even introduces some hip hop grooves and rapping into ‘The Flight (Lincoln to Minneapolis)’ and the title track. This is where Furstenfield lets his anger spill over releasing a diatribe of insults on everyone from the Judge to the County Court, before shouting “Fuck Everybody Who Took My Baby Girl From Me”. Then the rapper Ray C wades in with ‘Kiss Both My Nuts Bitch’. Now I’m no prude but this is where the line is crossed between art and entertainment and in my view lets the album down. But when you have killer tracks such as ‘The Feel Again (Stay)’, ‘The Chills’ and the beautiful album closer ‘The Follow Through’ - a duet with Patricia Lynn Drew of Soldier Thread - you’re willing to forget this relapse.

Be warned, this album is not for the faint hearted, but if you are up for a sixty minute emotional rollercoaster journey then jump on. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the ride!

Alister Strachan

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