The Features – ‘Some Kind Of Salvation’ (Serpents and Snakes)

March 1, 2010 by  

Mates with Kings Of Leon, proclaimed by Kings Of Leon and now the first band to be signed to Kings Of Leon’s new Serpents & Snakes label, you’d think the Nashville rockers The Features would sound a bit like Kings Of Leon. Well actually no, which is probably the only surprise from a band re-releasing their buzz eluding album two years after its initial outing.

‘Some Kind Of Salvation‘, is set to yet again be re-released (first released 2008, then again in July last year) to coincide with joining KOL’s label. So why should we bother with it this time round if it’s not been a success without the big name?

Now I’m not saying that Some Kind is bad, it’s just nothing special. Essentially a rock/pop album, there are some catchy choruses and intelligent lyrics, with some quite jocular hooks. There are some good tracks here but on the most part the album sways close to terrace anthem territory as opposed to stadium. Thankfully this doesn’t seem intentional, but whether intended or not they just don’t excite like you’d hope for a band influenced by such greats as the Kinks or The Jam.

‘Off Track’, for example, is pleasant enough. It’s not to dissimilar from a Morning Runner track for style or energy, but could easily be a lively cover of a Shins track (which may possibly be explained by production help from Modest Mouse producer Jacquire King). ‘Now You Know’ chugs along to close the album, but it’s again it’s just… well just pleasant. It’s safe and sadly for the most part more dad rock.

Highlights to suggest otherwise are firstly the Killers sounding ‘Temporary Blues’, where lead singer Matt Pelham has actually created an anthem, with his actually decent voice sitting perfectly over top a melody to produce a memorable chorus. Recent single ‘Lions’ finds itself just the right side of laddy – The Fratellis on a good day (if possible) with catchy ‘oh oh oh’s’ working as a simple but effective vocal hook for the chorus, and with a propelling drum beat keeping things interesting.

They can also experiment, as shown in the electro laden disco bass of ‘Concrete’ or the very British, Zutons sounding, sax laden ‘The Drawing Board’, proving they’re at least no Status Quo in the chord department. This, however is not what the band are about. They’re about punchy riffs, three minute pop songs, and getting you moving.

The problem with this is that whilst they have enough about them to attempt experimentation it’s more miss then hit, yet playing it becomes monotonous, and the balance between the two options is lost. For example ‘Still Lost’ could be a weak Foo Fighters cover, but when they beef it up in ‘GMF (Genetically Modified Fable)’ it gets a bit too scuzzy. Also there are a lack of ballads – where you’d imagine Pelham’s vocals could really shine – but then the one ballad on display ‘Baby’s Hammer’ is just lukewarm folk.

It’s difficult to know what you want to get out of this album, which unfortunately makes it difficult to care, especially when there is so much better out there – and after two years of this not making

The band themselves sum it up well by what must surely be the self referencing ‘All I Ask’. Opening line “I got a lazy mind / It only works part time” is later followed by “I won’t give up on you / so don’t give up on me”.

As KOL have decided, The Features may not be quite ready to give up on yet, but I’ll reserve judgement until they become assiduous enough to work full time on their next effort.

[rating:2.5]


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