Life in the Dark, The Felice Brothers

Here are some thoughts on some of the songs Life in the Dark, the latest record from the Felice Brothers. I’d say they got their Americana mojo back, but I don’t think they ever really lost it – more took a stroll down a different path for a while, and have now rejoined the original trail.

Aerosol Ball: A Cajun-inflected delight that is dark commentary on consumerism in a bubbly, danceable disguise. I will never look at the St. Paulie Girl the same way again.

Jack at the Asylum: I heard the first couple of bars and thought Oh, they did ‘Jack of Diamonds’ again?, which – yes, but also no. It’s Jack of Diamonds, done American Gods-style. The embodied voice of the frontier, slipping through time, hopscotching states; an American everyman, a rambler, a gambler, a long way from home, counting his cards and making his luck, long after his luck has run out, writing us all a note from the “looney bin” that is both warning and entreaty.

Triumph ’73: Echoes of Vietnam, though “rich man’s war” could just as easily apply to activities in the Middle East. I like to listen to this one when driving through empty farmland under threatening stormy skies. It would probably be good on a time travel soundtrack.

Plunder: I’m going to be blunt: this is a super bouncy shout-along song about PTSD, an in particular, mood swings, violence and persistent memories of the horrors of war. I didn’t like it the first time I heard it, but – it’s grown on me. Sometimes I still skip past it, though.

Sally!: Nearly-wordless Appalachian porch jam. Excellent company for traffic jams and/or sitting in the back yard in the shade with a cold beverage.

Diamond Bell: Over six minutes about a dashing female bandit and the innocent boy who loved her, or: Murder, A Love Story. It unfolds slowly and gracefully and the ending pinches my heart every time.

Sell the House / Chain Me to the Earth: An Appalachian Fields of Athenry. Haunting. Heartbreaking. Also sometimes puzzling – why take the kids to Jacksonville?? Hidden at the end of the recorded version: the true last song, an expression of unmoveable defiance.

If you’d like to listen to the whole thing, there is a full album stream here.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Reddit
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Tumblr
Bookmark the permalink.