Different Eyes

October Project

Independent Release, 2003


REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Sometimes things get weird in the synchronicity department. Within a few months of Mary Fahl's debut CD (reviewed previously here on the DV), most of the remaining members of October Project (who had been playing gigs and putting out one EP last year) took a shot at regaining their own magic with their first mostly-full-sized release since 1995. Today's review takes a look at October Project's 2003 release Different Eyes.

The core of October Project 2.0 is Emil Adler, Julie Flanders, and Marina Belica -- the original three members of October Project. Adler was the primary keyboard player and music writer for the band's '90s releases, Flanders was the primary lyricist, and Belica provided keyboards and vocals. Not surprisingly, the strength of the band is elegant, spare, lovely songwriting; heartbreaking and clever turns of phrase delivered in Belica's precise phrasing. Interestingly enough, the songs here are older; none are newer than 1995, and as the CD's title says, the band has returned to look at them with "different eyes".my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The production and engineering of the CD is good; longtime fans of the band will find the sound on Different Eyes a bit spare, however, as if there was a layer or two of the textured sound missing. While I think that's partially the mix, mostly it seems to be the reality of trying to reform a band and record again without big-label backing. Nevertheless, there are some musical high points; the guitar intro on "See With Different Eyes" is astonishingly good, even though I can't tell if it's actually a fingerstyle acoustic guitar or a keyboard sample (there is no guitarist credited on the CD).The rich orchestral-style vocals of "If I Turn Away" are also very, very good, and set the tone for the song very well. Special kudos have to go to the jazz stylings of "Forget You"; this is a very, very different sound for OP, and it works really well.

In a final analysis, you do miss the sense of depth and richness from previous OP recordings. Part of what made October Project was the interplay of Marina Belica and Mary Fahl's vocals; while Julie Flanders provides competent backing vocals, it's just not quite the same. I also confess to missing Urbano Sanchez' acute sense of percussion. The band committed to recording this CD in a home studio, and therefore used only what resources they had available in that home studio -- but there are occasional moments where Different Eyes could have done with more real instruments and less keyboard patches.

Nevertheless, this is a very good CD, and bodes well for future projects. The band has immediate plans to begin recording a full-length CD ( Different Eyes checks in at just over 23 minutes), probably with the participation of Sanchez and OP's guitarist Dave Sabatino. That is something to definitely look forward to. If Different Eyes is the appetizer, I suspect the entrée will be very, very good indeed.

For more information and to obtain Different Eyes, check October Project's website.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2003 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Independent Release, and is used for informational purposes only.