Feels [Album]

Feels [Album]

Tuesday, 03 May 2016

CD by Feels
Castle Face Records

Reviewed by G. Murray Thomas

Feels play noisy guitar rock. Glorious noisy guitar rock, if you’re into that. And I am.
However, buried beneath the fuzz and feedback are well crafted songs. From the slinky bass lines of “Slippin,” to the shifting tempos of “Today,” to rolling psychedelia of “Running’s Fun,” they demonstrate they can compose songs which are more than hard rocking chords. On “Tell Me,” their first single, and “Small Talk” (which I nominate for their second) the show a clear talent for catchy tunes. And they can rock hard too; check out the breakneck race-throughs of “Play It Cool” and “Unicorn.”
Feels is a proper album, in the old-fashioned sense. That is, it is meant to be listened to as a whole, in order. It is short enough (nine songs in 33 minutes) to listen to in a single sitting. Further, even on the CD, the cover design makes it clear it is divided into two sides, in case you want smaller bites. The sequencing is important; the songs play in a deliberate order, so there is a musical development through the album.
Feels is headed by Laena Geronimo, on guitars and lead vocals. It evolved out of her previous band, Raw Geronimo. Raw Geronimo was a six piece band, and had a much more expansive sound, moving from straight ahead punk to percussive prog rock. The exotic “Bird’s Eye,” the most experimental song on the Feels album, is a remake of a Raw Geronimo song, and gives a sense of their sound.
Three of Raw Geronimo’s members (Geronimo, Shannon Lay, and drummer Michael Rudes) became Feels, with the addition of Amy Allen on bass. In the transition, the emphasis shifted to guitars. Geronimo, who mostly just sang in Raw Geronimo, picked up a guitar, and Lay moved from keyboards to second guitar.  The result may be more basic and straight ahead rock, but it also more focused. The sense of experimentation in Raw Geronimo has been replaced with a sense of purpose. If Laena Geronimo was musically questing in the first band, here it seems like she found what she was looking for.



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