As music fans have seen time and time again over the past few years, fuzzy post punk is in. Every band trying to appeal to a punk audience is lo-ing their fi’s and gazing at their shoes. And of course, some bands succeed at this far more than others. And even when they succeed, it becomes difficult for a band to actually stand out among so many others doing a similar thing. LA based Feels did something smart with that, though. They took what worked in a variety of different styles that fit relatively well into post punk – psych rock, more classic punk, the aforementioned shoegaze – and combined it into something unique and engaging. The thing that works the most for Feels? They’re cool. Their attitude and hipness is noticeable throughout their self-titled record. Rather than just sounding like they don’t care, like so many post punk bands do lately, Feels cares that you’re listening and wants to give you something to listen to.
Their attitude comes out early on with the track “Slippin” that hints at the snottiness that any good punk band should have. “Play It Cool” takes that snottiness to full-on Kathleen Hanna levels of snark, and demonstrates how heavy Feels can get. The experimental, atmospheric “Bird’s Eye” feels pretty out of place compared to even the hazier of the other songs on the album, but it’s definitely a sound that Feels could hone and apply to better use on future recordings. The whole album feels a little disjointed; even though all the components are great individually and would be an excellent sound for the band to stick to, when they’re all put together on one relatively short album it starts to seem sort of confused. That said, they wind up making that confusion work for them, and with strong, emotional songs like “Running’s Fun,” Feels is still a remarkably captivating and moving record.
If this record is any indication of what can come of Feels in the future, they are definitely a band to watch out for. With a sound that will appeal to any sort of heavy music listener, even those on the farthest poppiest end of the spectrum, and that sounds like it would translate fantastically live, it’s hard to imagine that this band won’t make a real mark on the music scene if they keep up the momentum.