In their brief, three-year career, October Project released two albums stuffed to the seams with soaring, sweeping, aching melodies.
Their intense, plaintive pop songs are tinged with the influence of both the alternative pop and new age movements of the 1990s, but they seem to have more in common with Broadway musicals than with any other pop musicians (although the band has admitted a similarity to early Jefferson Airplane
recordings). Both of the latter comparisons are in large measure due to the enormous sound of Mary Fahl's
powerful lead vocals. At a time when most female pop singers affected some degree of waifishness, Fahl
held nothing back. Her voice was the focal point of a sound dominated by vocal harmonies -- all four of the band's musicians sing at some point, and the soaring arrangements have provoked frequent comparisons to classical choral music. The melodies are written by Emil Adler, who plays piano, keyboards and harmonium. Marina Belica
also plays keyboards, and sings duets with Fahl
on almost every chorus. David Sabatino's rhythmic acoustic and electric guitars are the primary reason these string-dominated ballads remain in the realm of pop-rock music. The fifth band member is not a musician: Adler's wife, Julie Flanders, wrote most of the lyrics. Her words combine a subtle mysticism with an earthy sensuality, and her stories are well suited to the intense yearning of the music. One of her songs, "Take Me As I Am," is a dark love story inspired by Anne Rice's novel Interview With the Vampire. The band began its career playing in friends' living rooms, but they really constructed the specifics of their distinctive sound in the studio while in the process of recording their first (self-titled) album. Released in 1993, the record was produced by Peter Collins (who has also produced the similarly harmony-driven Indigo Girls
). Their second album, Falling Farther In, surfaced on Billboard's Top 200 in 1995. Apparently that wasn't enough for Sony's Epic label, which booted the band off its rolls in 1996 and October Project disbanded shortly thereafter. Three years later, Adler and Flanders decided to continue on by releasing A Thousand Days under the moniker November Project and before long, Belica invited the two to participate in making her debut album Decembergirl, on which Belica covered "Return To Me", originally found on October Project's 1993 self titled debut. After the experience of performing on Decembergirl, Adler, Flanders, and Belica chose to reunite as a trio under the name October Project to continue the legacy, which they did with the self-released 2003 EP Different Eyes. ~ Darryl Cater, Rovi