I Hope You’re Happy (Up/Down Records) –  Blue October – Originally out of Houston Texas circa 95, these guys have been around and have seen some dark days. With their 9th studio record, “I Hope You’re Happy”, they have morphed from said dark days to a vibe that is emotionally, physically, and spiritually positive. Bassist Matt Noveskey describes the new record as “emotional”, which is just what the band was looking for. That’s why they put their trust in guitarist/frontman Justin Furstenfeld to produce as “there was a certain way this record needed to sound” and what better to ensure that.

“Daylight” opens the record and it’s a good one. The production is excellent as it jumps out as a New Wave/Soul mix of sound with the vocals taking on almost a Peter Gabriel vibe.

“I Want To Come Back Home” is a deep one as it finds the subject pleading and apologizing and begging for forgiveness. Driven by a mesmerising keyboard/backing vocal combo, you can feel the torment and angst, through Justin Furstenfeld’s vocal delivery, all to real.

The title track and first single could fit right on the Valley Girl soundtrack with its catchy beat and synth driven rhythm. Not sure who writes the lyrics for the band but, whoever it is, they are doing a great job. This one finds our subject wishing their ex the best in the future and generates a feeling of hopefulness. Ensuring that everything will be alright.

The overall production on this record is quality, which is outstanding for a first time producer. Justin captured all the elements for a record that is, in some ways, all over the place, which is a good thing. Whether it’s the industrial style drums of Jeremy Furstenfeld on “Colors Collide” or the smooth keyboards of Ryan Delahoussaye on “Remission in Cmaj”, it’s all captured and preserved brilliantly.

The star of this record, though, is the beautiful “Let Forever Mean Forever”. It starts slow, ends fast. The melody, the vocal delivery, the arrangements, nailed it, all of it. Lyrically, it’s among the most heart felt things this writer has heard in quite some time. This song needs to be heard. Weddings, proms, movies, television, radio, everywhere, it’s that beautiful.

Closing out the record is the 9:08 Further Dive (The House That Dylan Built). As a prog rock fan, this writer can appreciate a lengthy closing track and loves that they both wrote it and included it, Bravo.

The band will be on tour Oct/Nov 2018 so be sure to visit https://www.blueoctober.com for tour dates, other news & info on an upcoming documentary about the band.