I Don't Belong Anywhere is October Drift's follow-up to their debut album Forever Whatever in 2020. The Taunton quartet have been playing most of their lives (since age 13) and are Alex Bispham (bass), Chris Holmes (drums/vocals), Dan Young (guitar) and Kiran Roy (vocals/guitar).
Their love for music drives them, and it shows. Influenced by, amongst others, 90s grunge bands, they could have easily given up well before. But they've faced obstacles and are still here, fighting against the odds.
Most of the lyrics for the first track, "Airborne Panic Attack", were pre-pandemic. But as Coronavirus hit, Kiran stated, they were' 'brought into focus and began making much more sense to me.' It begins with a thrashy, punk-inspired guitar before Kiran delivers a deadpan monologue on our modern lives: '…join the gym, go running, start African drumming, baking bread' that is perceptive and witty. Then an infectious harmony comes in, and it lets loose with a stream of guitar and hypnotising drum. 'What about us now?' They bring to mind the 80/90s band Whipping Boy. A driving, impressive first track.
"Waltzer", the recent single, is a fierce, intense song about emotionally fracturing and splintering, 'I don't think I'm coming back', they cry. Again, it combines an energetic rhythm section with a wall of sound guitars that get to you. Connection and alienation are current themes throughout the album and are fresh and observational. Kiran's vocals are deep, as are his lyrics.
"Lost Without You" is about heartbreak and hopelessness and shines a light on needing people in our lives 'I'm nothing on my own'. It is catchy yet earnest and full of longing. It reminds me a bit of The Manic Street Preachers; this is definitely a stand-out track (though it's hard to choose).
"Webcam Funerals" portrays such emotional truth; you cannot help but be moved by this, 'I thought she would always be mine, now I'm choking on pixel tears' is very telling. The harmonies are tender, the drumming and guitars frantic. October Drift's songs are tightly written, emotionally astute and with a punk ethos. They are dark and despairing at times with tracks like "Bleed" and "Parasite", but there is a passion there that stops them from descending entirely into hopelessness.
"Ever After" begins with the gothic tones of an organ and a thumping, dark drum and guitar. The first two minutes tell of misery, but then the tempo changes; it sounds almost spiritual. An insidious track that gets under your skin. The next track, "Feels Like Home," is positively breezy by comparison expressing feelings of feeling at home and never alone. "Old and Distant Memory" is a mournful ending to the album but nonetheless just as powerful and profound.
There is fire and fury driven through October Drift's stories. Far from a shoegaze sound, they're more like sky-gaze, looking forward, looking ever upwards. Their sound is musically evolving as they acknowledge the craziness of the world as musical observers. They need to be seen and heard.