Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Black Feelings - Black Feelings (Alien8 Recordings, 2009)

Black Feelings are a trio from Montreal, Canada and their sound has often been described as post-punk with traces of "psychedelic" and "goth." That couldn't be any more accurate. What first hit me while listening to this album was Oneida. Just the overall psychedelic feeling and qualities were very prominent on the opening song "Lost Rings Pt. 1". It begins with a punchy two-note keyboard riff and is quickly interrupted by the low and nearly sludgy bass, the frantically played drums and chanting vocals.

Every song on the album, in my mind, represents the soundtrack to some medieval tale where a dragon breeds in a cave near a village and a warrior must come and slay the dragon. The album doesn't keep this psychedelic post-punk sound going on forever, though. The track "Gails" catches you off guard and begins with a droning keyboard and the vocalist sounds like he's miles away from the microphone and starts shouting at it, and a quick bassline arrives and the song fades out. After that, Black Feelings go back to the same sound they had before, except they're a bit less sober than before, which becomes evident on the song "Eternal Bad Trip"; the post-punk portion of the band becomes more apparent and they're a bit more dancy and even add onto the danciness by adding a synth.

Though the album and the songs are good, like every album you hear, the album has flaws. One thing is their style; the psychedelic-gothic post-punk vibe gets a bit tiring after a couple songs. The songs could've had more in them. "Hidden Dance" for example, is mostly buildup, through every verse, but what does it buildup to? A freakout? Ear-aching distortion? Anything? No, it just leads up to something that sounds similar to the buildup but with the keyboard just turned up a bit. It's almost as if the album is too consistent; every song sounds sort of the same. Now normally there'd be something that isolates itself and has a sound of its own; something that's catchy, surprising, Black Feelings just could've had more distortion and I would've been happy. But the only standout song is "Gails" and that's mostly on the album for filler purposes.

So all in all, if you want an album that you don't really need to think about while listening to it, it's a perfect fit. Or if you're just looking for more psychedelic post-punk stuff to listen to because Oneida can't make you an album every day, that's good too. But if you're looking for something that stands out among the rest of your noise rock albums, it's not the greatest fit.

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