Consent To Treatment
Universal Records, 2000
REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/19/2000
Rock has been used as a catharsis for many artists. Some rely on sheer aggression to pound out their problems while others strip their souls bare in front of any listener who is willing to hear. To any prospective listeners: Blue October has a lot of pain to share. And if you don't believe me, just look at what tedious lengths the person on the cover of Consent To Treatment had to go through.
The band wears its neurosis like a "VISITOR" badge of honor. In their liner notes, they even list what best medicates them (guitarist Brant Coulter prefers Scotch, F.Y.I.). And the lyrics definitely deserve some sort of props for sheer creativity. In "H.R.S.A," lead singer Justin Furstenfeld vents, "My eyes can 't quite focus on/ The nurse with my Lucky Charms."
Furstenfeld has the makings of "the next great male rock vocalist." His bombast and passion are a sort of hybrid between Creed and Rob Thomas. He certainly has the emotional intensity to distinguish himself from other rock bands. But most important: he sounds like no one else out there. Even if Consent To Treatment is not your poison, you will have no problem recognizing Furstenfeld's voice on the radio.
As a band, Blue October should be easy to identify on the radio as well. E-bow's, mandolins, tuba and violins all are used to create the mood of Consent To Treatment. Songs like "Independently Happy" and "Holler" are great straightforward rockers, but tracks like "Breakfast After 10" and the eerie "Amnesia" are more experimental in their approach. Most of the material in Consent To Treatment is musically easy on the ears, but it's not that hard to find the uneasiness in most of the tracks.
The sonic power of Consent To Treatment lies partially with Nick Launay. No stranger to working with bands with passion, Launay has worked with such powerhouses as Midnight Oil. Unfortunately, Launay can only do so much. And Blue October sounds like a band with a whole slew of ideas and a ton of instrumentation, but not a whole lot of direction as to what they want to do with their sound on Consent To Treatment.
If you like chest-pounding, naked-soul-exposed music, than Blue October is definitely a band you should check out. If the band can refine their sound and complement it with their Prozac-nation lyrics, they have a chance to be huge. Until then, Consent To Treatment shows a band with huge potential, but still more of a band that needs to be checked out in a live setting and not necessarily on your stereo system.