The October | Lost Since Graduation EP (s/r)

cd_octobert.jpgAnyone foolish enough to accuse this great new band of simply aping their influences’ styles wholesale would be misguided fools.

 

 

Music fans can sometimes be prone to accuse new bands of being nothing more than rip-off artists, a trend that seems even more pronounced for modern bands following in the footsteps of 1980s new wave (just Google "Interpol" and "Joy Division" if you don’t believe me). Kentucky quartet The October have a very obvious affection for the musical landscape of the early and mid-’80s, but anyone foolish enough to accuse this great new band of simply aping their influences’ styles wholesale would be just as misguided as those fools who, a few short years ago, were accusing the Killers of being an over-glorified Duran Duran cover band.

Sure, there’s a most definite ’80s influence on Lost Since Graduation, the October’s first EP and third release overall, but the influences are wide-ranging, given a modern sheen, and mixed together seamlessly. The title track kicks the EP off with a near-power ballad whose chorus seems custom-built for the soundtrack of a John Hughes movie, yet the verses have a mellow vibe carried by a gently rising bass riff while the spaced-out droning quality of the bridge belies a hint of shoegaze influence as well. Bleeping keyboards open "Runaway," but the pace amps up with a ringing guitar riff straight out of U2’s "Where the Streets Have No Name" before exploding into an anthemic chorus reminiscent of Echo and the Bunnymen. The slow-burning "Gravity" has a rumbling bass line and echo-drenched guitars that bring to mind the Fixx, yet the vocals have a hushed, intimate quality and the drums ride a much dancier beat. The song oozes into "Don’t Color the Skies Blue," the bass shifting ever-so-slightly closer to Simon "The Cure" Gallup territory, its excellent lyrics exploring the theme of individuality without sacrificing its massively catchy quality.

The last two tracks, unfortunately, don’t hold up quite as well: "Move On" is a decent but ultimately unmemorable ballad and "Tragedy Tragedy" wraps up the festivities with a pop song whose hook never quite sinks in as deep as some of the others to be found here. Still, when songs of such staggering quality as the first four tracks are present, anything that’s merely average will suffer from the comparison, and these two songs are better than that. If the songs on Lost Since Graduation are any indication of the brilliance this band is capable of delivering, their next full length is most definitely one to watch for. A | Jason Green

RIYL: The Killers, Simple Minds, Echo and the Bunnymen

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