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CD Review: Blue October

Any Man in America (Up/Down)

Everything's a big deal to Justin Furstenfeld. So it wasn't much of a shock when Blue October canceled a tour a couple of years ago following the frontman's panic attack. Since then, his marriage fell apart and he was derailed by a bitter custody battle. So you can imagine the anxiety levels on the Houston group's seventh album. "I see the world keep moving as I stumble," he sings on the six-minute "The Feel Again (Stay)" near the start of Any Man in America. And for the next hour, Furstenfeld opens the wounds of a lacerated relationship looking for some sort of healing. Piano ballads, epic production, and Furstenfeld's torn voice (which recalls a stressed-out Peter Gabriel) guide overwrought songs like "The Chill" and "The Worry List." The fifth song, "Drama Everything," pretty much sums it up. — Michael Gallucci

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