By Hollie Jones
Following the release of their third album Wilderness The Features return to New York next month to play two shows. The Nashville natives have enjoyed a career that has thus far spanned 15 years. Wilderness is their first release on Serpents and Snakes/Bug Music, the record label owned by their Nashville contemporaries Kings of Leon, who describe The Features as “the best undiscovered band around”. Their latest single ‘From Now On’ is set to be featured on the upcoming Twilight soundtrack; no doubt this will win them the approval of new fans in the form of girl mobs determined to chase them through the Tennessee streets.
Wilderness is a record made up of classic sounding rock songs with a contemporary edge. The album features a new found Brit Pop and New Wave influence evident on tracks such as ‘Kids’ and ‘Chapter III’ as well as songs truer to the quartet’s established Southern sound, with tracks like ‘Rambo’ and ‘How it Starts’ solidly set to secure a place in the hearts of die hard devotees.
The album has a troubled and turbulent feel. In each track The Features achieve a dramatic resonance, most often via the theatrical assorted tones from the keys but also through rich melodic layers and vocal adlibs and extensions as in ‘Offer Up’ and thumping rhythms originating from a succinct drum and bass interplay. Wilderness is lyrically sound, with lines adding to the tone of the album by hinting at frustration “I’ve done my best to give you love/ I understand that aint enough” and confusion “can’t understand what I can’t comprehend/ All I know is nothing’s stranger than love is”.
Other tracks showcase a more sinister sound, for example ‘How It Starts’ that opens with an ominous guitar riff, later embellished by echoing keyboard melodies and haunting vocals. ‘How It Starts’ is definitely a track to listen out for as you catch The Features on tour. Regardless of its foreboding feel, it is a song that gets your toes tapping and no doubt the cleverly placed choral handclaps will immaculately transcend the recording vaucum to crowd pleasing effect.
Another stand out track on the album and one to listen out for live is ‘Fats Domino’. This song replaces scratchy screams with soft and breathy vocals, and sweet folk inspired harmonies. Simple melodic loops on the keys, guitar arpeggians and reflective spoken vocals at the end of the track effect a tired tribute to a lost love.
You can catch The Features on November 5th and Knitting Factory and November 7th at Mercury Lounge. The Features have been very kind and gifted Secret Sound Shop with two tickets to their Knitting Factory show. These are available to the first Secret Sound Shop reader who donates to our Please Fund Us campaign using The Features incentive when it goes live.