October Project

October Project

Epic Records, 1993


REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Today on "The Daily Vault": A Recipe For Disaster.

Take a band whose sound is unquantifiable, a band so complex that on their first CD a member was credited as 'Lyricist'...and nothing else. Add a lead singer whose voice is hauntingly lovely but odd, music with a deeply spiritual theme, a string section, and a distinctly un-MTV physical presence. Add a major record company with no idea how to promote them. Wait for the explosions.

October Project's three-year recording career was marked by three things: brilliant recordings, fanatical fans, and recording industry incompetence. Despite a self-titled debut CD selling over 200,000 copies and tours with Crash Test Dummies and Sarah McLachlan, Sony/Epic dropped them after sales of their second CD, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Falling Further In, proved disappointing. Soon after, the band disbanded, perhaps disheartened at their brush with corporate music clones.

Their sound was in many ways unique, although comparisons were made to Clannad, Enya, and Renaissance. It's hard to make a distinction in quality between their two CDs, but I think that October Project was just a bit more even and smooth. The CD hooks you with the crystalline piano of "Bury My Lovely," and then Mary Fahl's voice kicks in.

Fahl is gifted with a unique voice, deep, rich, and velvety; like an ornate dessert, it's almost too rich at the first bite, but it smooths into sheer bliss as you continue to listen. It's not the ethereal tinkliness of Enya or Loreena McKinnett, which is what one expects from the melody lines; it's almost earthy in its solidity, and marvelously versatile. The CD is in many ways built around it; Fahl is defiant on "Ariel," wistful on "Where You Are," mysterious on "Now I Lay Me Down," and at the end powerful and triumphant on "Be My Hero." And if Fahl's not enough, the group's -second- vocalist, Marina Belica, has a expressive soprano that perfectly counters Fahl's earth-goddess alto.

However, if I had to spend the rest of my life listening to three tracks off one CD, it would be tracks six, seven, and eight off October Project. "Return To Me,""Wall Of Silence," and "Take Me As I Am" are quite possibly three of the most magnificent songs I've ever heard with a female vocalist, and that includes a good deal of my favorite music. The harmonies Fahl and Belica weave are transcendant, the instrumentation perfect, and the emotional extremes of beseechment, bitterness, and acceptance run you through a musical wringer, leaving you breathless with half a CD to go.

The fact that October Project couldn't find a firm place to stand on is a shame. We have only two CDs to document a band who was a few years ahead of their time, and as far as I know there has been no further work from the members. (Please, please, if anyone knows otherwise, email me care of the Daily Vault!) This is another CD you probably didn't buy, and another one you should have.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 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 Epic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.