Release Date: Aug 13, 2013
Record label: Warner Bros.
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, American Trad Rock, Alternative Country-Rock
Falling somewhere between the earnest, neo-southern rock of the Black Crowes, the bluesy swagger of the Black Keys, and the wide-open-road country-rock of the Eagles, Nashville-by-way-of-Austin's Wild Feathers apply the lessons of the past to the wounds of the present, offering up an expansive 12-track collection of hard luck stories, fist-pumping highway jams, and rural, midtempo porch stompers that suggest a steady diet of Petty, the Band, and Mellencamp tempered with a healthy respect for the Boss -- they prefer to be called an "American" band rather than an Americana one. Things begin on an upbeat note with the propulsive “Backwoods Company,” a pistol-whipped, harp-fueled, gospel-tinged bar crawl of an opener that sets the stage for similarly kinetic late album gems like the blistering power pop anthem “I’m Alive,” and the Crazy Horse-kissed “Hard Wind,” the latter of which, oddly enough, also owes a tip of the trucker hat to “Ship of Fools”-era World Party. There’s a real familiarity at play here, especially with all of the classic rock underpinnings, that makes it awfully difficult to refrain from just listing the artists that so obviously made an impact on the group, but their Bad Company-by-way-of Big Star (see what I mean?) aesthetic is so easy and engaging, especially on standout cuts like the wise and wistful first single “The Ceiling,” the power pop-infused “American,” and the soulful, hymn-like closer “Got It Wrong," that it ultimately feels more timeless than revisionist.
If you're of a certain age, you have memories of your parents blasting CCR and Eagles tapes on long car rides. For some, that surely accelerated an interest in edgier sounds, but for others, such as the members of the Wild Feathers, it left an indelible nostalgic impression. This Nashville five-piece have only been around since 2010, but on their 12-track debut, they do a nice job synthesizing their '70s FM radio influences, starting with riff-heavy opener "Backwoods Company.
Where should homage stop and originality begin? And, how does any up-and-coming band find the perfect blend of the two? All musicians owe a debt of gratitude to their predecessors, to those who inspired their love of power chords or heavy bass riffs and drove their commitment to the dreary hours of practice it takes to master any instrument. This push-and-pull is, ultimately, what The Wild Feathers’ self-titled debut is all about. Despite their airy name, these five Austin boys bring forth a heavy, swinging-for-the-bleachers slice of Americana that, at times, feels like it’s all Tom Petty and the Allman Brothers—a covers album where the songs have different names.