It’s been a momentous four years since the postmodern New Wave blurt of The Features’ major label debut EP, The Beginning, and their first semi-full length album, Exhibit A. The band parted ways with Island, released a Christmas 7-inch and the Contrast EP and lost keyboardist Parrish Yaw. In the interim, the Features have picked up Mark Bond to replace Yaw but the band hasn’t lost a step sonically, based on the tracks posted on their MySpace page (taken from their new self-released vinyl-and-downloadonly/CD-soon album, Some Kind of Salvation).
Guitarist Matthew Pelham’s songs still shiver with a Weezer-like energy shot through with strains of Sparks, Squeeze, Elvis Costello, The Kinks and Pixies, and the band (Pelham, Bond, bassist Roger Dabbs, drummer Rollum Haas) has the innate ability to translate all of those sounds and subtle differences at full throttle and often within two minutes, blazing and pounding away with an almost pathological joy.
Nashville’s favorite non-Country sons have actually been around for more than a decade — they recorded two early indie albums that went unreleased in the late ’90s (one produced by Self’s Matt Mahaffey) and they self-released The Beginning EP in 2001 before signing with Island.
The Features made fans out of Kings of Leon and raised their profile effectively by warming up KOL audiences on their last few tours. But perhaps most impressively, The Features have managed to maintain a consistent sound through their personnel shifts and label woes, infusing contemporary verve into their classic Pop/Rock influences; those of us old enough to remember the source of this stuff (and not working on our first artificial hips) may be tempted to pogo when The Features hit town.
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