’60s Psychedelia Back with Beautiful Vengeance
For Feeding People’s first official LP, Island Universe is one hell of a distinct ride. There’s a familiarity and prescience to frontwoman Jessie Jones’ croons of “forever young and naïve/can we just make believe?” in the title track, floating dreamily atop tambourine jingles and playful guitar. Jones sells the forever young aesthetic masterfully and at just twenty years old, sounds at once weathered and wide-eyed.
Island Universe comes as a mixture of top tracks lumped in with a previous EP, though the album coalesces effortlessly. While homage often seems amateur, Feeding People use such gimmicks to their advantage. “Desert Song” uses spoken word better meant for a street corner, in the way that the Beatles’ “Revolution 9” turns chatter into art. Feeding People walk a fine line between originality and admiration and their hodgepodge gamut of influences sounds oh-so-fresh.
It would be trite to box Jones in with simply psychedelic crooners, lumping her in with Jefferson Airplane’s Grace Slick and Janis Joplin yet neglecting to consider the inherently beachy vibes of, say, Tennis and Best Coast. Not to say that those aforementioned older influences are a bad thing. Jones wrestles with her harmonies the way a snake charmer coaxes a python into a swirling frenzy. It’s an urgency that would fit right in at Bill Graham’s famed Day on the Green. Tracks like “Uranium Sea” and “Inside Voices” recall that spirit of psychedelia with an added hint of garage rock gruff. There’s a slight method to the madness as most tracks start off unpolished, save for vocals, and push and pull their way through churning guitar riffs and minimalistic drums.
There is much artistically in store for such a young band. The world is Feeding People’s oyster and they’ve got many musical paths to take as they continue to hone their sound. As Fitz and the Tantrums helped usher in a true neo-soul movement spanning genres and ages, Feeding People may be first to the psychedelic ’60s throwback party we’ve all been waiting for. Or they’ll head in a completely different direction, swapping guitars for Moogs. The ultimate benefit to Feeding People’s fresh-faced debut is its room to grow despite such a fully fleshed out LP. May their curiosity lead them well.