Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Reviews:: The Lovely Feathers Fantasy of the Lot

A few years ago, the debut LP from The Lovely Feathers landed in my mailbox and I have to say – despite the shoddy quality of an almost pointless post - I really enjoyed the frantic, herky jerk energy they delivered on Hind Hind Legs. Sure, you could have pointed out (and some critics did) how they sounded like a PatrickSurtain group of Canadian indie icons – *cough The Unicorns * cough – but the songs were full of humor, sarcasm, and joy.

Unfortunately, over the next couple of years, The Lovely Feathers got lost in the shuffle. Even after opening for the biggest names in the Can-indie scene and getting praise from all of the major publications, the Montrealers disappeared. They weren’t driving a cab in Baltimore like Capadonna, but they might as well have been (or selling poutine or working at Club Super Sex if you want to make this more Montreal related) as far as fans were concerned. In today’s disposable age, we quickly dismiss bands that are still out their touring and writing, so imagine what happens to a band on hiatus? Basically, except for You Aint Picasso, the blog-world forgot about them. If this was 2007 or 2008, I would have been giddy waiting for the promo copy to arrive, but as it is, I almost missed the email when I did the quick scan of the inbox.

Obviously I didn’t and I’m happy to let readers know that The Lovely Feathers are back with a new record. Fantasy of the Lot is hitting the street on June 2nd and you get the impression that time and the frustrations they faced getting this record finished impacted the record... positively. We’ve seen other versions of some of these songs over the last few years, but the final versions seem much more thought out. Sure they are still full of ear pleasing synth tones, guitar and quirky vocals (That shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone), but the maturity that the band shows might be and it makes the tracks more controlled and structured. A perfect example is Agrotaker, chock o' block full of energy, stabbing guitar and synths but the band rides the melody nicely and as a result the song never teeters on the brink of insanity like you might expect.

And honestly, I’m glad. The frantic pace and odd transitions that made HHL so appealing three years ago probably would have fallen short this time around. Instead, the band shows that they can evolve; older, wiser without letting go of the elements that made them so appealing. Even on the surging single, Lowiza, the band seems more sure in their song writing. The protagonist – Jim - is trapped in a marriage devoid of sexual passion, but instead of frustration and melancholy you expect, The Lovely Feathers execute a sophisticated build.

The record offers a more level pace, but one that is more enjoyable. Instead of a few songs that dominate your playlist the band offers up a record that demands a complete listen. The record is full of scintillating synth pop, and still offers up some sure fire hits - Finders Fee, Ossified Homes )which may or may not have been called Rusty in demo form?) and Long Walks (the one song I feel they truly let loose on) got stuck in my brain - but the songs seem to have grown up like many of the band’s listeners. Family that Doesn't Know the Game teases an explosion of sound, but the quick-hitting finishes up without a climax and leads nicely into the subdued title track. Even the big surges on Gifted Donald seem more polished, shedding the angst of youth for the clarity you get as you grow older.

Fantasy of the Lot was a long time in the making. Life happened - good and bad - but the band came through it all with a more grounded perspective and a stronger sound because of it.

MP3:: The Lovely Feathers - Lowiza

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Posted at 11:50 AM by ack :: 1 comments

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At 1:24 PM, Blogger Chris did sayeth:

Thank you so much for this review.


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