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November Project


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Ethereal alternative pop

Status:

Only release, A Thousand Days ep (1999)

See also:

The Official November Project page

The new official October Project page

The Ectophiles' Guide entries for: October Project, the band this once was and which it has re-evolved into.

Comparisons:

October Project

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

After listening to October Project's two CDs several hundred times (or so my wife and kids claim), I started looking for some band—any band—that could compare.
     The closest thing that there is to October Project is November Project, which has many of the original October Project members in it. I've seen November Project perform, and they're stellar. It must have been very hard for November Project to find a new lead singer: Should that person sound like Mary Fahl? Watching and listening to Mary Anne Marino, November Project's lead vocalist, convinces me that November Project made a wonderful decision when they found somebody who has a rich, vibrant voice—but not a haunting voice like Mary Fahl's. As with the original October Project, I find that every time I listen to November Project's songs, I enjoy them more and more. (billonline@adlerbooks.com)

I personally don't mind the new (though unoriginal) moniker—to me, it seems to be the only appropriate way for Emil Adler and Julie Flanders to let everyone know they're still writing and recording the same kind of music they did with October Project, but by changing the name slightly, they're not doing a disservice to the former members—especially Mary Fahl. I did have to laugh at one internet posting that predicted further break-ups and regroupings until we're stuck with February Project. ;-)
     I'd say that it is fair to compare the new group to October Project; if Emil and Julie didn't want comparisons, then they *should* have more radically altered the band name. Comparing November Project to October Project has its pluses and minuses, however. On the plus side, without its ties to the late, great October Project, I (and I'm sure many other fans) would be a lot slower to discover and sample (and give more than a passing chance to) November Project. So this has to help them from a marketing perspective at least, and I'm more prone to give these new songs a chance until I've learned to appreciate them instead of instantly dismissing them based on the rather blah vocals.
     However, from my past experience with October Project, Emil and Julie have never written any songs that have immediately grabbed me (with the exception of "Bury My Lovely"). What they *do* write is music that is subtle and pretty and might strike the listener as unexceptional unless they give it the benefit of repeated listens. Once familiar, the music of October Project never got old to me; it only got better. The point I'm trying to make is, without those other-worldly vocals of Mary Fahl (which is what kept me listening to October Project's debut until I was hooked on the music), November Project have their work cut out for them.
     MaryAnne Marino is a decent vocalist, judging from their EP. But with an original lineup that included TWO great vocalists in both Mary Fahl and Marina Belica, fans are bound to be disappointed if she's anything less than stellar. Her vocals remind me somewhat of Trisha Yearwood's and Jewel's, and at times while listening to her voice I felt like I was hearing the first-time-studio work of a college student hoping for a big break. The rest of the time, I was trying to imagine how these five songs—which hold up quite well against previous October Project material—would sound coming out of Mary Fahl's mouth. (Patrick)

Comments about live performance:

this past saturday i had the experience of going to the towne crier in pawling ny to see the re-constituted "october project 2", now reborn as "november project".
     the originality of their new name should clue you into what they were like.
     actually, musically they were very good but not as extraordinary as the seven-piece version that toured in 1994. vocally was an altogether different story.
     the band consisted of emil adler on keys and vocals, maryann marino on vocals, julie flanders on keys and spoken vocals, mike visceglia on bass, doug yowell on percussion and rob friedman on guitar, emil and julie being the only members from the original October Project lineup.
     in October Project Mary Fahl's voice (on recordings, but especially live) was breathtaking. even in the 5-piece band incarnation, where musically they suffered the most, her voice continually captivated me. many times i was in awe, wondering where on earth that voice was coming from.
     the voice of maryann marino did no such thing...not once...not for a second. shockingly, a band that i felt was known for their exceptional vocal talents has now become a professional, slick-sounding musical outfit topped by singing that was pedestrian at best.
     the gothic splendor of the original band was replaced by a by-the-numbers-follow-the-fad-alterna-lilith presentation. the vocals were pleasant when they were in tune, but frightfully dull. and the almost sex-kitten-style of vocalizing was out of place with the music and lyrics.
     the remarkable thing was that emil adler and julie flanders' music was as wonderful as ever. it was truly a shock to see it delivered so blandly.
     is it fair to compare the original october project with the new one-month-later version? seeing how emil even addressed the fact from the stage that they intended to go out as "october project 2", yes i think to compare them is fair...and unfortunately for the current lineup, anyone that expects to hear the majesty of their original dazzling sound will more than likely also be comparing, and i'm sure most will come away disappointed. if the singing was extraordinary, tackling songs like "ariel" and "bury my lovely" shouldn't have been a problem. but these and the addition of an a cappella encore only exaggerated how uninteresting the singing was.
     for those interested the set list consisted of the entire 5-track cd, an additional 8 new songs, and "ariel", "bury my lovely" and "sunday morning yellow sky" as the lone holdouts from the earlier era. (10/99, cjmacs@micronet.net)

I just returned from seeing November Project perform at the Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia.
     They were excellent, and I was delighted to hear several October Project songs, including my favorite, Ariel, and Bury My Lovely.
     Listening to November Project, though, was kind of like wondering about which influences a person more: genes or the environment? With a band, what's more important: the singer or the songwriter? MaryAnne Marino, November Project's lead singer, has a deep, evocative voice, but it's very different from Mary Fahl's voice (the lead singer in October Project.) If you've ever listened to October Project, you can't help but compare the band's two incarnations, October Project and November Project—especially when November Project plays their earlier songs.
     If I had never heard an October Project CD, I would have come out of tonight's concert in awe. But I just couldn't get the ghost of Mary Fahl's voice out of my head, having listened to October Project's two CDs over and over and over again.
     November Project's songwriting, which is done by Julie Flanders and Emil Adler, is as emotional and soul-touching as it has always been. The songs are sophisticated and involved. There's a new song that Julie Flanders wrote about her four-year-old son, who's growing up too quickly. After the concert, my wife remarked that hearing that song really made her miss our two daughters, who are at sleepaway camp. All right, I was a little teary, too.
     MaryAnne Marino's voice has a resonance and quality that is an absolute pleasure to listen to. It's not as haunting as Mary Fahl's (I still can't shake the inevitable comparisons), but it's more powerful, with more of a rock 'n' roll quality. It is easy to overuse adjectives when trying to describe her sound, but it is the kind of voice that grabs you inside. I'm glad that November Project didn't find a singer who was a clone of Mary Fahl; Marino's distinctiveness suits the band very well.
     Besides a few October Project songs, November Project played several songs from their EP-CD, A Thousand Days. They also played some songs from their next CD, which is something to look forward to. The bass was turned up, as it should be, because Michael Visceglia's bass playing is something to listen to. This was a high-energy performance—the best kind, where the band's having as much fun as the audience. November Project is both a performing and studio band—either way, in concert, or on a CD, they play great music. (6/00, billonline@adlerbooks.com)

Recommended first album:

A Thousand Days ep is this incarnation of the band's only release

Recordings:

A Thousand Days ep (see also the October Project page)

A Thousand Days ep

Release info:

1999

Availability:

Out of print

Ecto priority:

For October Project fans

Group members:

MaryAnne Marino—vocals
Emil Adler—keyboards
Julie Flanders—keyboards
Doug Yowell—percussion
Rob Friedman—guitar
Michael Visceglia—bass

Comments:

Bottom line, I'd have to say the EP is an almost must-buy for the remaining October Project fans, even though disappointment in it is almost inevitable. I'm just hoping that even at half its former glory, November Project manages to improve to create an album's worth of material worthy of the [insert month here] Project moniker.
     For me, even October Project's weakest material was similar enough in scope to everything else they recorded that I'd have a hard time choosing lemons, and the same is true for this EP. One thing I will say about the EP, though, is that I feel it improves from beginning to end—the last two songs are the best. (Patrick)

almost perversely, i bought the 5-track cd they offered. i enjoy 4 of the songs, and the vocals are decent on the recording (studio tweaking?). (cjmacs@micronet.net)


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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2009-08-07 03:52:36.
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