The October Game – ‘Balancing’ review
Alt-rockers release expansive third album
1. Answers & Keys
2. We Built This Wall To Destroy It
4. The Rise and Fall
5. Not Important
6. Beg Cycle
7. Trust No One
9. I Hope You Got What You Wanted
Luke Williams – Vocals/guitar
Nick Kozuch – Guitar
Owen Stephen – Bass/vocals
Ollie Taylor – Drums
Nick Murray – Viola/keys
For those unfamiliar with Herts/Beds/London quintet The October Game, here’s a brief description – at their heart, they’re an alt-rock band, but with various dimensions; touches of electronica, folk and indie pop (and viola) make up their sound to make something unique and well-thought out. Third album ‘Balancing’ sees the band at their most expansive, taking every aspect of their sound and taking it to its peak.
Back when opening track ‘Answers & Keys’ was first released earlier last year (it’s presented here in a new re-recorded state), I wrote that it had a ‘Muse-like swagger’ about it, and indeed, there’s a similar feel and level of confidence throughout this whole album. One thing that becomes obvious is that, since recording their previous album ‘Wildblood’, TOG have pushed and developed their electronic side to become a greater part of their sound, and have also taken on a stronger sense of groove. ‘We Built This Wall To Destroy It’ sees the bands at their most rocking, letting loose in a way previously unseen in their videos (video posted below). Lead track ‘Beg Cycle’ is a good example of everything that’s good about this album, followed by ‘Trust No One’ which has an utterly infectious beat, as does later track ‘Sneaky Beaky’. ‘Balancing’ has everything you could want from a rock band – it has groove, it has deeper introspective moments, biting cynicism, rockier parts and melodies you can lose yourself in and chill out to. Penultimate track ‘Labyrinth’ is a perfect example of the latter, with a great follow-up – close your eyes and listen to the intro to the closer ‘Recover’, and I’m sure you could imagine hearing it in a festival setting, crowd moving with arms in the air – a future live favourite, surely?
Confident, yet relaxed in an non-arrogant way at the same time, and full of potential, ‘Balancing’ is the sound of a band fully aware that they’ve created something than could easily sit alongside, or even outplay, the bigger names of music. This album deserves to be heard and achieve great things for The October Game. At the time of writing this, the band are all currently busy on their own individual projects (Nick Kozuch’s Black Noise with Laurence René, Owen’s international tours and Ollie’s solo work and drumming for Zaheer) – here’s hoping they find the time for album number 4.
The video for ‘We Built This Wall To Destroy It’:
‘Balancing’ is out now on Scylla Records, and can be downloaded from http://theoctobergame.bandcamp.com/album/balancing, and is available as a limited edition double vinyl/CD/mp3/bundle here http://scyllarecords.bigcartel.com/product/the-october-game-balancing.
‘We Built This Wall To Destroy It’ and ‘Answers & Keys’ are both also available as downloadable singles with non-album b-sides from http://scyllarecords.bandcamp.com/
For fans of: Muse, Massive Attack, Thrice, The xx, Arcade Fire, Radiohead