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Felsen: (Loves You)

Felsen was organized by drummer/producer Andrew Griffin, co-founder of the East Bay Wrecking Crew. From their San Francisco home, the Wrecking Crew has been supporting hundreds of local bands over the last six years. This album is an attempt to start their own project and build a fan base. Felsen features Andrew Griffin, multi-instrumentalist Aaron Phillips, and bassist Kevnn Robinson.

A very interesting album of six songs, with one alternate version, which provides an introduction to this band's original sound. "Lay Kenneth Lay" and "Dream of the Indian Summer" are worth the price of admission alone.

Imagine the Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Neil Young wrote a song together. You might get something like "Lay Kenneth Lay". From the opening drum salute and beat, reminiscent of Paul Revere's Cherokee Nation, to the soft flute and woodwind sounds of the keyboards this is music full of originality while staying rooted in some of the best lines of classic rock. "Electric current television, flicker across the ghost of subdivision." They use some famous rock song lines, David Bowie's "Ground control", Pink Floyd's "See Emily Play" and Neil Young's "the King is dead but he's not forgotten" in their refrains so effectively. The bell like keys and soft unaggressive tone is wonderful. The guitar solos work their magic.

Slow reverberating keys and soft drums open "Suicide Daydream". The bass and guitars join in with vocals as the story and emotions unwind. How do you take a difficult subject and set it to music? The sad feeling of a loss of love set to the "float upstream" rhythm of the Beatles "I'm Only Sleeping". "I feel the weight of the world, maybe you do too. Don't worry baby, it's just a daydream". It must be noted that Andrew Griffin experienced a life – threatening illness years ago that left him emotionally and financially drained and this experience had an influence on his songwriting.

Wonderful acoustic and steel guitars open "Like Water Fit for Babies" so effectively. More of the dark reflection from the illness experience can be found in these lyrics. "Nothing in this world gonna save me, like water fit for babies. If I smile you know I fake it." The emotion and feeling of being in the death grip of illness is transferred powerfully through the lyrics and vocals.

"Generals and Majors" has that XTC sound to it, complete with the sound effects of military communications to open and fill the background. A song about war mongering set to the upbeat sound of soft electric and steel guitar, drums, and percussion with sound effects weaving in and out of the soundscape.

Slow acoustic guitar and bass get the first half of "Dream of the Indian Summer" started off quietly. Memories of Led Zeppelin's Tangerine abound, except without the heavier electric guitars. More of a soft dreamy, relaxing by the bay sound. The bells add to the effect. "I've never known anyone who's treated me the way that you do". The lofting vocal harmonies as the song builds are wonderful. Then the keys, bass and heavier steel guitars join in.

Just when it seems you're completely relaxed, the second part of the song takes a country rock turn. It almost sounds like an alternative version of Led Zeppelin's Black Dog, with the lyrics, "I don't know and I don't care gotta get myself on over there…". You almost expect the lines, "I don't know but I been told, a big-legged woman ain't got no soul". It's a nice change and a cool tip of the hat.

Then, the original feel of the song returns, but this time full of electric and steel guitars. The guitar solos are fantastic and bring back memories of the Eagles' sound at times.

"Where There's a Will There's a Way" opens with Andrew almost whispering. This is another song from that desperate illness time. The lyrics are deep and emotionally charged. The synths and soft acoustic guitars bring back memories of Comfortably Numb, without the full melody. Definitely influenced by the feeling that song conjures. This song brings more Western guitar sounds and cool keys to the soundscape. An Outlaws meets early Pink Floyd sound which is just fantastic.

"Suicide Daydream (Alternate Version)" opens with synths and soft piano like keys and some reverb, to the steady beat of the drums. "Sunday, Monday, Tuesday too. I do my best to write a letter to you. From a desperate room in a desperate flat. Outskirt of the town. Wrong side of the track ". Yeah, that kind of feeling set to an upbeat rhythm of bass, drums, keys and guitar. "Drift upstream effortlessly". The guitars on this version are heavier.


Track Listing
1. Lay Kenneth Lay
2. Suicide Daydream
3. Like Water Fit for Babies
4. Generals and Majors
5. Dream of the Indian Summer
6. Where There's a Will There's a Way
7. Suicide Daydream (Alternate Version)

Added: February 27th 2011
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Score:
Related Link: Band MySpace Page
Hits: 1445
Language: english

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