Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Album Review: The Felice Brothers - Celebration, Florida

While their previous efforts have been suited for backyards and barrooms, The Felice Brothers' Celebration, Florida is much more adventurous.

Titled after a town founded by The Walt Disney Company, the album is a caution against corporatism and praises the working class. The journey starts through corporate America (“Honda Civic,” “Ponzi”) before shifting to small town America (“Cus’s Catskill Gym”).

What makes Celebration, Florida so powerful is how the music reflects this journey.

The Felice Brother’s sound has always been a mishmash of folk and jazz genres and, for this album, they’ve expanded even more with hip-hop, electronic and world music influences.

These influences present themselves in the first half of Celebration, Florida and help to create a feeling of excess. “Fire at the Pageant” is a frightening opener with its screaming children and rhythmic twists and turns.

After getting scammed in “Ponzi,” an electric dance rock tune sounds nothing like anything the band has released before, The Felice Brothers bring the listener “Back In The Dancehalls.” The new electric instruments never completely disappear, but things feel much more familiar on the back half of Celebration, Florida.

After 10 tracks, it’s hard to believe the record could get any better, but the band saved the best for last. “River Jordan” is dark and devastating. The final two minutes build into a demolishing finish that ends the album with a bang.

Celebration, Florida takes a lot of risks, but it pays off. By pushing the boundaries of a genre that rarely sees innovation, The Felice Brothers have crafted their most compelling record yet.

Celebration, Florida is out May 10 via Fat Possum Records.

No comments: