With the way things are going in the world these days, we can at least take solace in the fact there’s a new Felice Brothers record. Life in the Dark, out June 24 on Yep Roc records, is Americana music perfect for today’s fitful America. The band sounds cynical, weary, but wise - and mostly grinning through it all.
The record springs to life with “Aerosol Ball”, a lively tune that sounds positive if it were not dripping with dystopian lines. And even if things are dire, the band seems to point out silver lining. On the album’s title track for example, Ian Felice uncoils lines like “They’re burning the heretics again / it’s awfully bright.”
Felice’s forked tongue is still in cheek on “Jack at the Asylum” when he toasts the country for all of it’s grandeur but also it’s ugliness. “I’ve seen your pastures of green / the crack whores. The wars on the silver screens.” But things get more earnest on the album’s standout track “Triumph ‘73”, a four minute goodbye to a lost lover with a town in the rearview mirror, told from a solitary rider on a speeding motorcycle.
Which is not to say the album is devoid of fun. Throughout the record, the band’s snide smiles and perky instrumentation keep the whole affair afloat. “Dancing on the Wing” is a jam, even if the plane happens to be going down. “Sally” is a 90-second (mostly) instrumental stomper.
On the whole, the record is a keeper. Its lyrics reward repeat listens and the tunes rattle around between the ears after the album stops. It’s a poignant reminder that our time is running out, which sucks, but all the more reason to have fun along the way.
Words by Brian Hodge
Video by Adam Richert & Maurice Morales