Album Review: The October Game – Balancing

The October Game
Balancing
Scylla Records

Hertfordshire based five piece, The October Game, are set to release their third album ‘Balancing’ via Scylla Records next month. Having already released two singles, one of which ‘Beg Cycle’ was featured on Tom Robinson’s ‘Introducing Mixtape’ on 6Music, this effort is a progression musically for this band.

Deep stodgy bass takes control of opening track ‘Answers and Keys’ from the first moment giving it a constant, funk infused rhythm. Slightly whispered vocals in the verses gain an authoritative tone in the chorus sounding quietly overpowering while a brilliantly heavy pixelated guitar gives way to a slightly melodic breakdown. It’s a dark scuzzy track and a really good opener.

‘Sneaky Beaky’ with its creeping bass line really does live up to its name. The whole sound gets closer and closer until the final chorus when it catches up becoming bigger and louder with rock infused guitar riffs and crashing pounded drums.

Both singles taken from the album are obvious choices; ‘Beg Cycle’ builds into commanding beats, hushed but strong vocals and a chugging guitar before giving way to a more harmonious chorus of flowing sounds and the inclusion of violins. With menacing sounding verses and stunning choruses this is a strong track that shows the talent of the band musically. While ‘We Built This Wall To Destroy It’ is upbeat having a quick funky beat, catchy tune running through with the guitar work and echoed vocals in the chorus making the whole thing bigger.

Steady and constant bass and drums set the standard for the songs on this album and basis on which everything else is built. Adding grand atmospheric strings and angsty vocals on ‘November’, distortion, big riffs and far away sounding vocals on ‘Rise and Fall’ and tribalesque percussion and ambient sounds to kick off ‘Not Important’ before it’s chilled vibe gives way to a hushed marching drum beat and soft acoustic guitar.

Though a lot of this album is good there are moments where it falls and all gets a bit confusing. Such as ‘Trousers’ with its hip hop vibe reminiscent of Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ amalgamated with sludgy guitars and menacing vocals, ‘Trust No One’ and it’s electronic opening with an R’n’B feel placed alongside wailing distorted guitars, a battering of cymbals and a chaotic ending with hoards of sound and plenty of feedback while album closer ‘Recover’ features an uptempo dance beat with vocals layered over the top leading to a chorus when the beat subsides and atmospheric electronics take over. There are lots of different things thrown at these songs and though separately the parts are good it doesn’t really gel or work as a whole piece of music.

This is a strong album from the quintet with really good moments, truly showing off their talent and experience from having produced three albums. There’s a definite growth in sound and a penchant for experimenting with sounds; most of the time it works but there are times when it doesn’t quite work leaving you with a mish-mash of genres and sounds that don’t sit well. Though on the whole this is a great album and a listen to this will not leave you disappointed.

Check out the video for the band’s current single ‘We Built This Wall To Destroy It’ below:

To find out more about the band visit their website, their Facebook page and you can listen to their music on their Soundcloud page. You can also preorder the album on CD, vinyl or digital download via Scylla Records BigCartel page now.

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