Reviewed by Helen Whitall
Whilst three of the four members of Denver's The Fast Feeling are formerly of Five Iron Frenzy, aptly-named debut album 'Pulses' clearly demonstrates that this is a whole new band with a whole new sound. It's certainly fast. The whole album is high octane, driving, industrial electro-pop-rock, with a lot of strong influences from '80s pop. Leanor Ortega Till's sweet vocals are given a lot of ethereal effects that unfortunately make the lyrics hard to discern, but they stand in excellent contrast to the motoring grind of the music. The production (by Matt Langston) is good, bar some oddities in the sound dynamics of the opening track "Until It's Gone", which is a guitar-driven song that steps on the pedal immediately and gets the album off to a roaring start. The Lorde-like "Dangerous" features a wonderfully mechanical electronic solo, and the excellent chorus lyric "One of these days I'm gonna wake up dangerous." Break's ska-like rhythm is perhaps a nod to Five Iron Frenzy. "Sunnydale" is an accelerating and decelerating EDM powerhouse, whereas break-up piece "Songbird" is a little slower and more melodic, the vocals clearer and purer. Steering away from clichés it's an epic track, it steams towards a rock solo totally in keeping with both the sweetness of the song and the engine-oil-soaked vibe of the wider album. Screaming guitars and furious drums give way to a fairly standard indie beat in "Off The Rails", albeit with a catchy riff, before "Heartbeat" brings a pulsing, liquid electro beat and a bass so compelling you can almost see the shockwaves. The album closes with the crashing climax of rock track "Fall Back", but the jingling beat is a bit overpowering for me; I began to wish someone would just answer the phone. . . For me the standout track is "Factions". The lyrics, though they are hard to pick out, are actually amazing; deeply poetic and slightly abstract, perfectly reflecting the confusion of the current media-driven divisive political climate and our tendency to receive only what reinforces our preconceived ideas. I feel we need more artists like this who can smuggle their message across our factions, challenge us to think critically about the state of today's world and what a faithful response to it looks like, and do so without simply getting up on their own side's particular soapbox and reinforcing the divide. I would love to read more of their lyrics.
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