lovely feathers - hind hind legs (Mar.28th/06)

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Album: Hind Hind Legs
Artist: The Lovely Feathers
MP3:: In the Valley (via IGIF)
MP3: Frantic
Ranking 8/10

It's really hard to review the new Lovely Feather album, Hind Hind Legs. The band hails from Montreal, which is quickly becoming the new black for Indie bands, and has shared the stage with so many of the bands that have made the area famous. The album is even produced and engineered by people in the same circle (Jimmy - BSS & Drew - engineered almost every great Canadian Indie band going, like my favs the Unicorns). It's so easy to just start making comparisons to this scene and assuming the Lovely Feathers want their piece of the pie.

The thing is, I don't think that is the goal of this band so it makes me not want to draw on the similarities. The album is really good, and does have some of the same styles as other good Montreal bands (the tempo and energy and quirks of Wolf Parade or the Unicorns for example), but the Lovely Feathers are trying to show everyone they have a unique sound.

The album starts well with the simplistic, pop infused guitar of Pope John Paul, but quickly transitions to a powerful anthem-esque driving sound that is constantly interrupted, or maybe accessorized, with new sounds. It's organized confusion at its best. Dueling guitars and pulsing drums that build only to be stopped by a subtle breakdown or a new sound. Songs like this hit home with a certain audience and might not be everyone's style, but they are definitely mine.

I like the risks the band takes, and I like the sounds they create, for example almost channeling Men at Work (the flute-like sound) while repeating 'we'd laugh if we were younger' on 'Photo Corners. 'Breakfast Cake' uses rapid fire vocals (that drift to perilously close to early metal) and double guitars (not like the kind Otto wanted to buy on the Simpsons) with some tasty licks for a song that will be a crowd favorite at any live show. The band refuses to be lumped into one style.

But the band can also deliver solid rock tracks like the single, 'In the Valley'. The bouncy bass line and guitars that more or less seem to build and build, into a smoothed out infectious jam. These are the moments where the band really finds its stride. The energy is never broken by the intricate transitions and makes the track very accessible, just like the straight ahead, post punk track, 'Rod Stewart'.

Perhaps the best intro to the band is the track, 'The Only Appalachian Cornfield'. The catchy hook is nice, and the breakdowns are more subtle and the chorus more than brings the energy back to the front. It is almost a perfect way to get used to the eccentric songs the Lovely Feathers write.

The pop aspects of my favorite song, Frantic, are perfect. The glockenspiel and keyboards (or whatever instrument they use) and the harmonized 'oohs' that start the track quickly change into a frantic paced verse, only to be followed with sing-along La's. What sounds so simple is what is missing in most Indie rock outfits today. You are hooked in from the intro and you are never given a chance to lose interest. Perfect for all us ADD kids.

The album isn't perfect, and I don’t think the band wants it to be. I'm sure they could have written 12 songs that follow the format of the stand-out tracks on this album, but I think they are determined to play music they like, not that is uniquely Montreal or Indie-tastic right now. The more arty songs, which at times sound like a narrative, are experimental and will obviously be hit or miss with fans, but I'm going to guess these guys, despite their own wishes, might be the next big thing coming out of Montreal.

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