When The Lovely Feathers released Hind Hind Legs, they were riding the fresh coattails of upbeat jangle pop that dominated the independent music landscape. At the time, few could argue that this band held more promise than most, but as stardom loomed, turmoil hit. The band parted ways, albeit temporarily, in order to pursue other outlets, as the industry has ground them up and spit them out, with no one willing to release their second album. But, this is a new year for the band they are back together to bring you Fantasy of the Lot.
The group’s first album had a lot of power to it, but their was also a lot of mystery and experimentation. Vocal ranges were pushed places you didn’t expect a normal band to go, while the music hit at various levels of pacing, most of which were upbeat. Album number two has the band taking up a similar approach, but with a bit of experience beneath their tattered indie rock belts. Fantasy… has a great deal of balance to it, which allows for the album to really grow on the listener. You have the toe-tapping of “Long Walks” juxtaposed with the more twee “Fad,” which shows the band playing with more traditional pop song elements. This is not the only example of balancing acts that appears throughout the album, in the end, leading listeners to a greater appreciation for the album’s strengths.
What has lapsed since the last album is the presence of frantic energy in songs like “In the Valley” where tension seemed to build endlessly until the song exploded in moments of bliss. Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing, as there are plenty of hyperactive tunes here such as the album opener “Lowiza,” or the very British sounding “Ossified Homes.” While they don’t have the same tension within the songs, the band have managed to hold onto the catchiness by focusing on the entire set of songs.
Interestingly, the similarities to fellow Canadians The Unicorns comes across a lot more on this album, which isn’t a bad thing. Take the song “Long Walks” with it somewhat spastic verses that build into the chorus, and when that chorus arrives with gang vocals, it’s hard not to recall the happiness brought to so many by Nick Thorburn. Even more striking is that the band appears to change it up in the middle of the songs with more enthusiasm, much as the aforementioned band; all this show signs of growth, and perhaps homage.
Closing the record, you realize that this is an collection of tunes where your favorite song is not going to be the exact same as your best friends, and that’s probably a great thing because you can spend all your time talking about why you are right and your friend is not. A balanced album this is, and one that ends with you loving each song a little bit more as you decide you love Fantasy of the Lot a bit more each time.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/04-gifted-donald.mp3]
Download: The Lovely Feathers – Gifted Donald [MP3]