Music Review: Better Lives by Feral Conservatives
After I moved to Richmond, VA, I did some online digging on the local music scene. While watching a YouTube video for a band whose name I can't remember, a video image on the sidebar caught my eye...a woman wearing a look of despair and with make up smeared all over her face. I had to see what that was all about. The song that I heard was "Can't Do This" by Feral Conservatives. I have been a fan ever since.
Fast forward to their recent full-length release, Better Lives (Egghunt Records).
Don't call Better Lives a departure from their "fuzzy folk" roots; this album is more evolution than departure. While Rashie Rosenfarb's vocals and mandolin riffs are still the hook, Better Lives offers the listener a richer sound with baselines by Dan Avant that oftentimes work as dynamic, weaving melodies instead of just holding down the bottom end and the addition of Zach Jones on guitar. Jones brings a sound that previous FeCon releases lacked. His guitar work brings a fullness to each track, adding a complement to what the band already had and providing tight, satisfying riffs and fills. "Chimney Run" stands out as the track that really showcases the way all the parts of Feral Conservatives fit together to make a beautiful whole.
Matt Francis, drums, and Rashie are the primary songwriters, and Better Lives delivers the overt quirkiness and subtle poignancy that I've come to expect from FeCon lyrics. Take "Cat Song," for example. It's a love song to a cat, but it could just as easily be a song about longing for the comforts of home...about missing a loved one.
The band may also be the champions of the fun promo video. Including spoofs on perfume ads, prescription drug ads, and 8-bit video games.
Listen to Matt talk about the history of the band and the new album on the Holidays In The Sun Podcast.
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