The Features
Wilderness


3.0
good

Review

by Statrick Pickles USER (63 Reviews)
August 14th, 2011 | 18 replies | 6,547 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: You know those guys that play the same role in every movie? Well yeah, it's sort of like that.

7 of 7 thought this review was well written

After 3 EP's and 3 full length efforts, it's becoming fairly obvious that The Features will never make a masterpiece of an indie record. It's frustrating, almost, for this to be so very evident by this point in their careers. But the fact of the matter is simple: The Features have pretty much always been the Matt Pelham show, and all signs point to their frontman's inexorable status as a one-trick pony. That being said, pumping out consistently above-average indie rock records on a yearly basis is a pretty nifty little ploy. However, Pelham will not be providing us with the next In The Aeroplane Over The Sea anytime soon, and it's quite likely that his musical troupe will forever reside in the shadow of southern rock contemporaries and former tour-mates Manchester Orchestra - but is that really such a bad thing? Besides, who wouldn't seek out the shady comfort of a gargantuan leafy ash tree in the hot Tennessee sun? Perhaps one shouldn't look upon Mr. Pelham as a middle-of-the-road musician, but instead as an intelligent and opportunistic surveyor of the musical art. Seriously… playing for Andy Hull's sold out crowds every night? Six major releases? These guys can't be doing that much wrong, right?

Putting equivocation to rest, The Features aren't doing too much wrong. Wilderness, their latest full-length release, is sprinkled with noteworthy moments that carry the distinctive Pelham flair. "Big Mama Gonna Whip Us Good", for one, has my personal nomination for catchiest chorus of 2011. The track is the perfect embodiment of what there is to love about these guys - stripped down, edgy indie jams accompanied by the frontman's crooning southern drawl. It's bold, it's impassioned, and it's exactly the sort of tune that has their fans in the U.K. going buck-wild. Or take "Golden Comb", another example of a quintessential Features track. Spaced-out synths build and fall atop a rolling drumbeat, while tremolo guitar and Pelham's strained vocals duke it out for audience attention, finally coming to an end in a dissonant and spooky finish. With their high-octane choruses and ingeniously simple melodies, such tracks call to mind former hit "Lions" or even their premier singalong number in "Blow It Out", and boy are the memories sweet. Point is: when The Features shine, they shine brightly.

Where they fail to glisten, however, is where mediocrity takes hold. Pelham's voice in "Fats Domino", a song named after one of the more prevalent R&B singer/songwriters of the 1950's, rings a little too true as he sings, "I've done my best to give you love/ I understand that ain't enough." Try as they might, The Features fall victim to their own shortcomings, those being centered around a heap of rudimentary lyricism and a lack of musical innovation. Though they make an effort to change things up, with an increased focus on synth evident right from track one, the result just isn't enough to catapult them out from the shadows. As intriguing as it is to listen to these guys donning their dream-pop gloves for the final minute of "Love Is…", it just felt more right hearing about Pelham's steel-toed rubber boots and honey bun back on "The Temporary Blues". And just like that, as effortlessly as night becomes day, Pelham and his crew march out just as they arrived and, in doing so, confirm my suspicions that although a groundbreaking record is beyond their reach, a fantastic Greatest Hits album is not.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
iFghtffyrdmns
August 14th 2011



7047 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

First single and track one "Content" streaming here: http://puregrainaudio.com/news/the-features-release-new-album-wilderness-today-stream-first-single-content-online

And a good live vid of "Big Mama Gonna Whip Us Good": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XR9jRBruEPg

Sort of what I expected from these guys…like I said, this has some awesome moments and for that it's worth checking out, a lot of it just doesn't hit me. Maybe it'll hit you differently. Cheers.

SowingSeason
Emeritus
August 14th 2011



14505 Comments


very nice review man. one of the best you have written.

whywontyoudie
August 14th 2011



3063 Comments


congrats on the front page feature for this, excellent review.

iFghtffyrdmns
August 14th 2011



7047 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks guys (and thanks to the powers that be who put this up there), feels good to have my first feature. Fast approaching 3,000 comments here too. Think I'm gonna quit this site for good when I get there and just go out when I'm on top, like City of Caterpillar or Jeff Mangum or something like that.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
August 14th 2011



7224 Comments


Nice review, and well done on the feature. I've not heard this yet but I've always thought that this
band have quite a bit of potential but never really sound like they're going to realise it.

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
August 14th 2011



8927 Comments


Damn, looks like you should have surgery all the time if you're going to write this well afterwards

Digging: Phantogram - Voices

Irving
Staff Reviewer
August 14th 2011



7007 Comments


Really good review. The narrative style of the first paragraph could so easily have come from something off Pitchfork. The only complaint that I have is that you seemed to cop-out a little on the length. Another paragraph - heck, three sentences even - would have made this review seem a little bit more filling.

Still, a well-deserved pos vote for you. And congrats on the feature!

Digging: Caleb McAlpine - All Things New

iFghtffyrdmns
August 14th 2011



7047 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Haha thanks Hood, thanks Irv. Yeah I always seem to reach a threshold with review lengths, at a certain point I've just said all I wanted to say and it's tough to squeeze out much more. And yeah Ali I'm telling you these guys should just put out a greatest hits record with "blow it out", "lions", "Big mama", "temporary blues", etc. It'd be damn good!

SowingSeason
Emeritus
August 14th 2011



14505 Comments


i dont think there was any need to add to this

shorter is usually better if it is well stated

nodding
August 14th 2011



76 Comments


they're called character actors

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
August 14th 2011



9464 Comments


Good review man, I agree totally. I listened to some of this earlier, and it seemed like more of the same. Big Mama... blah blah seemed like a weaker version of Temporary Blues to me, which was a song I really enjoyed on Salvation.

Digging: Koan Sound - Dynasty

pizzamachine
August 15th 2011



12568 Comments


Great review, doesn't deserve the neg you got.

iFghtffyrdmns
August 15th 2011



7047 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

hey thanks pizza! yeah not so sure where that came in from but oh well, whattayagannado

pizzamachine
August 15th 2011



12568 Comments


Maybe they'll reconsider!

FatChickIrl
August 15th 2011



4096 Comments


You know those guys that play the same role in every movie?

Ashton Kutcher

BallsToTheWall
August 15th 2011



44164 Comments


or somebody awesome and totally g like Bruce Willis.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 15th 2011



6248 Comments


Congrats on the review (pos'd) and congrats on the feature (for a band called The Features, oh I do love puns)!



Digging: Amatorski - From Clay To Figures

iFghtffyrdmns
August 15th 2011



7047 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Wait fatchick, you're meaning to tell me that Ashton's acting isn't profound and versatile? woah bro.

thanks clercqie :]



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