October Drift’s debut is everything we wanted from it
It feels as if we’ve been waiting for an age but October Drift’s debut album, Forever Whatever, is finally upon us! After witnessing the band being wrongly introduced as ‘Tokyo Drift’ the first time I discovered them in The Big White Guinness tent in Sheffield (2016), I was instantly mesmerised by their charm and high-energy sound. I booked tickets to their Oporto gig in Leeds a few weeks later, and in the past four years I’ve managed to catch them live over 20 times – so you can imagine my excitement following their announcement!
The album begins with previously released single, Losing My Touch (July 2019), with this souped-up album version instantly creating an air of anticipation. This is achieved through a distorted introduction, something reminiscent of Drenge and Sonic Youth, soon complemented by the heavy guitars that introduce the band’s signature raw, fuzzy sound. Its lyrics are artistic yet poignant, delivered expertly by lead vocalist, Kieran, with ‘in thin October sunlight, brush strokes from above’ conveying a taste of the band’s carefully-crafted artistry, as ‘with a Southern sunset backdrop, we can dance with death’ poetically introduces some of the album’s darker themes.
October Drift’s artistic lyricism shines throughout the entirety of the album, beautifully presented in previously released favourites, bass-driven Cherry Red and Cinnamon Girl. Each track draws upon metaphors surrounding nature and water to convey feelings of hopelessness and loneliness through lyrics such as ‘the rain is endless, we are defenceless, a flood to wash away’ and ‘I’m in the ocean looking for the shores of devotion’. They also provide a nice touch of nostalgia for fans, sitting seamlessly alongside an outstanding collection of brand new, unheard tracks and those that have previously been teased live.
Fans will be aware that the lads have already blessed us with teases of both Don’t Give Me Hope and The Past at many of their live shows. The former is melancholic, with lyrics ‘when I see through the allusion that blinds me, I’ll walk away’, layered across dreamy, chiming guitars that may share similarities with The Sundays’, (but I) ‘Can’t Be Sure’. The Somerset songbirds have also skilfully selected The Past to close the album in perfect harmony with its role as a set-closer when played live. It makes sense; it’s poignant, yet positive, putting a clever spin on L.P. Hartley’s ‘the past in a foreign country, they do things differently there’ with a reminder that ‘the past is another country’. This also mirrors Cherry Red’s lyrical content, with ‘the past is patchwork, tomorrow’s guess work’, emphasising the fact that our past doesn’t define us, it is our future actions that hold the power.
Recently released tracks, Oh The Silence and Forever Whatever also feature. The former is primarily bass-driven, sonically most similar to Cherry Red and Cinnamon Girl, with the introduction of guitars appearing in its choruses. Also similar to Cherry Red is the titular track which surrounds a Nirvana-esque style reminiscent of Kurt Cobain’s gritty, shouty vocals with ‘close to me’. The track is largely anthemic and instantly catchy, with Kieran’s acapella introduction mesmerising live crowds. Again, the track proves the gravity of the band’s song writing, particularly in the endearing and effortless rhyming found in ‘shoestrings hold our lives together forever and ever, you bring our demise together, light as a feather’.
But, it’s the album’s shiny new releases which are the most intriguing. Just Got Caught’s melody has quickly become one of my favourites, projecting a sound reminiscent of early New Order whilst continuing the theme of expert rhymes, in ‘but if I find what follow, and I still feel hollow, and there’s nothing to borrow, then there’s nothing tomorrow’. While Milky Blue is a much softer track, it is also held together with a New Order style bassline and Joy Division inspired drums creating a sense of fresh melancholy.
It is this, and the album’s overall mellowness, that is epitomised in track number eight Naked. It is a much slower, stripped-back, acoustic number in fitting with its title and raw lyrical content, through ‘we’re just dead leaves at the bottom of a drained swimming pool and all we know are these four walls, why is the dark so dazzling?’. Naked stands out compared to the heavier tracks and is a refreshing addition to the album, really evoking an emotional connection, with the introduction of physical strings really pulling on your heart’s.
October Drift definitely haven’t disappointed with their debut, providing us with an ‘incredible collection of tracks’ and overall a true work of art.
Catch ‘one of the most exciting live acts around’ on their UK Tour!
07 Feb – The Louisiana, Bristol
08 Feb – Dead Wax, Birmingham
10 Feb – Yes (Pink Room), Manchester
11 Feb – Lending Room, Leeds
12 Feb – Think Tank, Newcastle
13 Feb – King Tuts, Glasgow
15 Feb – Waterfront Studio, Norwich
16 Feb – Heartbreakers, Southampton
17 Feb – The Hope & Ruin, Brighton
18 Feb – Old Blue Last, London