Review Summary: A return of Blue October, but on a happier note. Justin's vocals and Ryan's violin help bring together an album and new beginning.
As fall and October approaches.. gentilly ascends another solid album release from Blue October. Although far from the "blue" mood you'd expect from these guys, it never strays too far from the band's known formulas and smart arrangements. The album clearly displays Justin's reborn attitude on life.
It starts off with the haunting and whistling intro, "Breathe, It's Over". It's a niice way to start, very thought provoking and exhales optimism of what's to come. Next, smoothly comes in the title track "Sway". It makes you wanna' do just that, sway away with it's catchy hooks. With a carefree and bubbly tone, very easily the most laid back track of the album.
"Angels In Everything" and "Bleed Out" play next. Both very catchy and radio-friendly but don't stand out too much from the rest of the album. It's worth noting, the latter features a swell tremoring bassline. That said, they both have their distinction and great set of vocals but just don't hit that "peak" the other songs here do.
Then we got "Debris" - What starts off simple enough, gets a niice instrumental and vocal crescendo going that reaches a high-climax sound of perfection. Despite it's somewhat vague lyrics, it's difficult not to be pulled in to it's climb. "Fear" comes and so does that reminder of our own demons, only brought out by Justin's great vocal delivery.. if that makes any sense. Add in some great piano arrangements and hooky hooks, and you have a very heartfelt ballad.
The soft and mellow, "Things We Don't Know About", sneaks in right before the hard rockers of the album, "Hard Candy" and "Put It In". While at times very rehearsed and contained, these two provide enough angled arrangements and hooks to keep from going stale. Ironic to it's lyrics, "I used to dress like a hooker / but never seemed to hook anyone
", I found "Hard Candy" to be very fun and the "edgier" one of the two.
"Light You Up" shifts from a ghost hip-hop arrangement to an electric stutter anthem. I'm still not sure what it's about.. accusations of depressive and alcohol abuse tendencies or one's bout with one's own voices internally.. both seem viable and bittersweet fitting. "Things We Do At Night" is about just that, the things we do.. at night. Jumpy drum arrangements accompany Justin's shout staduim vocals. A simple song sure to infect crowds with energy at concerts.
It comes to a near end with "Not Broken Anymore". Very reminiscent to the band's Foiled
album's quiet ender "18th Floor Balcony". A stripped down, simple arrangement with powerful vocals that leads to empowerment of the listener. Then, like a calm.. slow wind, comes the smooOOoth "To Be" to end it all. With Ryan's perfect and soothing violin, reminding one that, sometimes, you can say more with no words.
And that's it.. heart tugging with a uplifting lasting impression. Accordingly, like any other Blue October release, this thing gets heavy rotation on my part. Motivationally heavy enough to make me want to write about it.. I suppose I'll leave it at that.
"Light You Up"