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This major-label debut from Houston's Blue October is an obscure treat driven by an unconventional, dynamic, and intelligent rock energy. Vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Justin Furstenfeld comes off on Consent to Treatment like an angry, Midwestern Peter Gabriel who has been listening to too much Eddie Vedder. As Furstenfeld plows through one irascible breakup track after another, the theme of transformation -- isolation into independent, proud self-sufficiency -- places a specific cast on almost every pained yet exuberant lyric. With the somewhat unusual lineup of Jeremy Furstenfeld on drums, Matt Noveskey on bass, and Ryan Delahoussaye spicing things up with violin, vocalist Furstenfeld uses the considerable talents of his band with skill and finesse. Delahoussaye's transparent additions come off more like keyboard lines, as they are frequently stacked into sweeping harmonic movements sounding more like an entire string section than some kind of Dave Mathews jam rock noodling. Highlight tracks include the staunch "Breakfast After 10" and "Holler," but the material on Consent to Treatment is strong throughout. The lyrics are consistently good, the arrangements detailed and smart, and the hooks are sweet and sneaky. Furstenfeld is an legitimate talent, limited only by his anguished sincerity, which by the time of this 2000 release had been so overdone by lesser artists, creating a suspicion among the discerning listeners who Blue October's sophisticated rock seems meant for. Fans of '90s MOR (Dave Matthews, Third Eye Blind, and Creed) who want to stretch out their ears and minds should go crazy for this obscure alternative release.