ALBUM REVIEW: Smoke Signals-Oktoba

Singer Oktoba dropped his debut album, Smoke Signals, on October 29, a great project I had the opportunity to check out. All tracks on the album were written and performed by the artist, mixed and produced by Tim Bidwell at The Clockwork Owl Studio, Brighton. The project was mastered by Nick Lewis at Brighton Mastering.

Blending folk, pop and Americana, the singer/songwriter based in Brighton, England, created a mellow album that showcases his vocal ability and songwriting skills. "As songwriters, we are given the intimate platform to describe our lives," Oktoba said of his work in a statement. "I really try when writing, to write honestly, giving the listener something that feels familiar and something that they can relate to, no matter who they are or where they're from." With Smoke Signals, the singer definitely accomplishes that aspect, offering a lot of great material and messages that listeners will be able to connect with.

Check out more of my review below!

Oktoba gives us a sense of himself and his own thoughts on life and love on the album. The title track  speaks on him venturing away from home to go after his dreams, which isn't always easy, especially in the midst of those who may not understand. However, the artist seems confident in the fact that he's found his calling in life, and refuses to buckle. "Call me right, call me wrong," he croons. "Call this dream too long, goodbye, I'm not coming home." I can definitely understand that.

With tracks like "On My Mind," "I'll Be Fine," "You To Me," and "Wind Fire Water Stone," he sings of an incredibly strong love and appreciation for another, valuing not only the moments they have together, but how that person helps shape him to be who he is. And, in listening to these tracks, I remembered how music is subjective and reaches people in their own individual elements, just as Oktoba stated. Even though these are romantic songs, I began thinking of specific family members and friends who I need in my life, and couldn't bear to live without.

One of the major tracks on the project is the singer's track, "Run," which speaks to the innocence and incredible fun of being young, and life as an adult takes a lot that away, unfortunately. "We used to play upon the sands, building castles with our hands. When they crashed down, oh, we'd build 'em tall," Oktoba sings a tale of youth. "But now to build a castle, man, I must find first the master plan that stops me crashing through the floor." On the chorus, he states, "When you walked, you should've run." It can be seen as a message of encouragement to the young to live life to the fullest, and a moment of nostalgia and sadness for adults who have now had to put their "childish ways" aside. However, to me, it serves as encouragement, as an adult, to not overthink things and to still enjoy life regardless of what may come my way.

It would have been nice to hear a few more upbeat tracks, but I love how cool and calm the music on this project is. I also really enjoyed listening to the actual lyrics, and I think that listeners will be able to connect to it as well. Oktoba gives a lot of great messages throughout the project that I could relate to my own life. I'm not a huge folk fan, but I'm finding that I'm expanding my horizons more and more when it comes to music nowadays. This is definitely a great project that I'm glad to have in my music collection, and you should too!

RATING: ★★★★½ (Four and a half stars)

You can buy Smoke Signals now on iTunes and other online outlets! Be sure to check out more from Oktoba on BandCamp, SoundCloud, and YouTube. You can also connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

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