October All Over - The Sixteen Channels
Mike Mantin 00/00/0000
Most of the 'hardcore' music that I've been cruelly subjected to has involved skinny people in black Atticus t-shirts indecipherably screaming things while identical skinny people in black Atticus t-shirts run into each other. Thankfully, October All Over do hardcore with dignity and intelligence. Some amusing lyrics (“we're sitting ducks but we've done our research”) and backing vocals from bassist Sophie Haines add some much-needed variety to the proceedings. The presence of memorable song writing also hides the demo feel of some of these songs.
'The Sixteen Channels' opens with its best song, the fantastic 'The Day The Earth Stood Still', a brilliantly angry track full of decent hooks and riffs. Screams are used sparingly, with most saved for the fantastic outré. It's easy to see why the late John Peel took a shine to it. Though the album doesn't have any stinkers, none of the other tracks match it, though 'Bigger Question' and the closing '100 Views Of The City' come close. The weakest moments are the most predictable. 'Grill' attempts a Pixies-style quiet-loud shout-fest but ends up betraying the subtlety which make the other tracks so refreshing.
'The Sixteen Channels', then, is a success. It's noisy and but also accessible and fun, and doesn't outstay its welcome or display any signs of pretentiousness. This is noise-pop with a brain.