THE FELICE BROTHERS
FROM DREAMS TO DUST
Yep Roc Records
The upstate New York group, based around the brothers Ian and James Felice, have been consistently evolving their sound for 15 years now, across a brace of increasingly diverse albums that showcase the progression of main songwriter Ian’s songs, from early folk facsimiles to wildly impressionistic cosmic Americana tales.
From Dreams To Dust is a clear contender for their best album to date. The influence of Dylan and The Band are still at the core of their sound yet here they show how much they’ve built on that, from injecting ragged, electrically charged guitar solos and heavily processed vocal samples to gothic slowcore moods and a maximalist 80s drum sounds. The way they blend a kind of backwoods gospel choir through some of the songs draws a line to latter day Nick Cave and his use of soulful soundscapes.
Ian Felice’s lyrics are the real star of the show. His ability to reference John Wayne, Jean-Claude Van Damme, AC/DC and Kurt Cobain, a cornucopia of insects, the autobahn and styrofoam – a mere snippet of the freewheeling poeticism in Felice’s wordplay – is quite mesmerising. There’s a stream of consciousness quality but it’s clearly considered and curated with real skill and artistry. That combo of the band’s range and masterful lyrics confirms The Felice Brothers as one of the finest bands of our time.