A précis of the Felice Brothers career to date; five ne’er-do-well musicians reconvene to Woodstock chicken coop and create a righteous country-rock racket highly reminiscent of Catskill patriarchs The Band. Exciting stuff indeed, spurring the music press into a string of complimentary adjectives (especially re their explosive SXSW set) and leading Conor Oberst to take the brothers under his Team-Love Records wing.
But are they really that good? Nearly. They can certainly play and sing, and their larger than life personal lives find a way into most of their songs to create a string of narratives that unfold like Jack Kerouac novelettes. Their best song ‘Frankie’s Gun’ give the ragged harmonies of The Band’s ‘The Weight’ a 21st century makeover; its tale of trans-American drug dealing seeming plausible when you know that Felice organist Christmas used to be a travelling dice player. Other songs touch on the usual themes of drinking, murder, and more drinking all with a sense of self assuredness and good fun (disaffected Kings of Leon fans would do well to look here for a band willing to put substance over style). Timeless and modern at the same time, their most recent album The Felice Brothers (2008) is a great record.
The Felice Brothers are here to stay so get used to it or they’ll be after you!
Words: Olly Brown