Felix - You Are The One I Pick
Death To Everyone But Us - It's a heck of an opening statement. Are we dealing with some sort of death metal racket here? From a band with a name like Felix who see fit to use a picture of a child's swing for cover art? Nope, this is a helping of minimal and heartfelt folky brilliance. The track in question is a shimmering slice of sunshine on a stick, despite the name - the lyrics are flecked with bile towards the world in general and a significant other, but it has the lightness of a tongue-in-cheek dispute rather than a slanging match. Opening the album, it's paired with the stirring title track You Are The One I Pick, forming a sort-of statement on the us-against-the-world feelings that can be stirred by a relationship - it's the loved-up, let's-never-fight-again to Death To...'s i-can't-believe-you-haven't-washed-up-AGAIN.
The project is a showcase for the talents of vocalist Lucinda Chua on piano and cello and the guitar-work of Chris Summerlin, one-third of Nottingham rockers Lords. There's no sign of his other band's bluesy fret workouts though, demonstrating a more reserved side to his playing. Things get pretty ambient and dreamy at around the midpoint of the LP, with the likes of Bernard St and What I Learned From TV drifting easily through the speakers, all hushed tones and lingering notes. They're separated by the more driven Back In Style, which is possessed with just a touch of funk - it fits much more happily in Felix's sound spectrum than you might imagine. For such a sparse-sounding record to conjure up so many different genres is an impressive feat and testament to the imagination and creativity of the artists involved. Despite being released on the semi-legendary US label Kranky, this is a thoroughly English-sounding record, although Ode To The Marlboro Man is imbued with the swagger of country music at its most loose and rootsy.
The album recalls Joanna Newsom before she only released 15-minute long songs, but with less divisive vocals (I'm Team Joanna all the way, just for the record) and fans of her mazy, classical sound will fall themselves falling head over heels with this album. A very sweet record with a heart of gold, this is one to file as a "hidden gem".