Music Reviews

Artist: Feel No Other (@)
Title: Feel No Other
Format: CD
Label: Silber Records (@)
Feel No Other is a project combining the electronic productions of one Brian Lea Mackenzie (Electric Bird Noise) with the muscular voice of Claudia Gregory (Exhaust the Fox, Claudia Versus the Queen of Hearts). The result is an album of somewhat uncharacteristically electronic americana/folk rock. Overall, this effect is more one of production than of voice. The usual instrumentation - guitar, piano etc. - is enlisted throughout, without hesitation. However, imposing compression lends a thickness to the sound, voluminous but rigidly full, with little breathing space. On the beatless 'Eclipse', for instance, Gregory's lyrics punch tangibly into the bed of strings courtesy of side-chaining. Elsewhere, overdriven thumps on 'Gunslinger' blast through the rest of the composition, managing quite well to illustrate the song's title. These methods might seem to cause a bothersome wrestle of frequencies, but along with an EQ heavily favouring the upper-mids they certainly associate the album with 'electronic' styles, even with the overall texture feeling quite lo-fi. Moreover, they give the whole thing a kind of brash, noisy urgency.

A gritty lo-fi song originally by Remora, 'My Brother's Guns and Knives' is an elegant cover, assuming the role of a stirring electropop lead. Unbridled and catchy, theatrically it trudges beneath Gregory's glum vibrato along a rousing progression punctuated by a wilting synth solo. This style is never quite revisited; the song favours looping hooks over outright balladry. On the other hand, the rest of the album seems to opt the other way, leaning between outbursts and quieter passages.
Balladry, of course, is mainly what fights the 'americana' corner. On 'Winter is All Over You', a trickling motif on banjo and piano dances beneath a familiar C-G#-F-G chord sequence. Meanwhile, Gregory's lyrics seem to follow the tradition of lacing tales with emotive, hyperbolic and slightly perplexing imagery ("Saw your mother at the department store / She looked innocent like a stillborn / But all I could think about was the sting"). On 'La fiance de l'eau', she sings in French, lending a further Continental theatricality to the whole thing. It's great.

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