CD REVIEW: October - October Moon
by: Cyrus Rhodes
CD: October Moon
Label: Independent Artist
Weakness: Winded Songs, Repetitive sound, Dated Sound, Marketability
October is a Boston based recording duo featuring Bill Chiklakis and Kevin Tofalo as songwriters and performers. October's history reaches back to the 80's when, for 5 or so years, 3 distinct iterations of the band performed a unique brand of music in Boston area clubs. October Moon is an album of new music created by Kevin Tofalo and Bill Chiklakis Each song was drawn from instrumental demos recorded by Kevin. From the instrumentals, melodies and lyrics were added by Bill, and together the two collaborated to refine the arrangements into a cohesive album. Kevin plays all the keys, bass and drum parts and Bill sings and plays guitars.
The CD quickly takes flight with epic “October Moon” and powerful emotionally riven intro groove that serves up catchy vocal melodies against powerful pop ambiance from Chiklakis and Tofalo. Track 2 “The Bigger the Love” shifts gears with its gripping vibe with heartfelt vocals and grand slam chorus that flows and ebbs it’s way through to emotional fruition. Track 3 shifts gears a bit with my personal favorite “Day by Day” with it's methodical musical build eventually evolving into a solid pop-rock groove with clever lyrical content and impassioned vibe, All in all an amazing piece. This song serves up a hypnotic musical beat meshed against impressive catchy accents along the way. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic Toto, Marc Cohen, Rufus Wainwright, Michael Buble, Paul Davis and America. This CD makes a pretty solid first impression. Right from the start you will notice rich musical textures overflowing everywhere, full of warmth, variety and strong melodic structure. The musicianship behind both Chiklakis and Tofalo is never once called into question. I would classify this music as catchy pop rock, light rock with a slight classical aftertaste. The songs themselves are addictive and upbeat, complete with positive, carefree subject matter. The musicianship of this band is pretty solid across the board. The players themselves write and play there parts extremely well song for song. Make no bones about it – these are solid players. Along the way you will notice lush layers of instrumentation layered everywhere. Besides the 4 piece standard you will also catch impressive things well placed Piano, solo guitar, strings, well placed keyboard accents, lush harmonies al buit upon an impressive rhythm section. Vocals works well across the board as he fills the sonic space peacefully and unobtrusively. From passionate “Home” to striking “No Regrets” to heartfelt “Falling in Love” to thought provoking Talk About it” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with track 10 “Every Road the perfect finale for a CD like this .
I wish head a more instrumentation throughout. Things like Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Guitar Solos, additional solo segments, Horns, Saxophone, Harp, Percussive elements, would add more musical variety to the catalogue making it sound less repetitive. All songs over 3.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. Drums tend to sound overly sonic. This CD is not the most marketable release I’ve heard this year. At the end of the day it lacks modern day marketability and flair reminiscent of dated 80’s pop as their write up reads. I would recommend Chiklakis and Tofalo work with a modern day producer that can push them down this road musically.
October Moon by October is an impressive musical release from start to finish. The music is consistent; the messages are powerful and sung straight from the heart offering a very emotional perspective. It’s strong suit, the rich conventional wisdom and musical passion from the Chiklakis and Tofalo dream team. They both possess enough musical talent and songwriting prowess to be extremely dangerous. It's obvious to me they are both world class songwriters. One would be wise to tap into heir message of live, love, and the Love of life itself.