“Silent Violent” takes the Square


Island Universe

Feeding People

Release Date: Feb 05, 13

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As time progresses and conventions have become “tried and true,” it really is difficult to deviate from them. This is especially true when it comes to music. Striving for originality is tough work, but once you’ve come up with something great, you just can’t mess with it. So what happens when you apply theatrical elements to an album? Do you “razzle dazzle” and throw up the jazz hands? Probably not, but you can if you want to!

Feeding People’s sophomore album, Island Universe, presents the listener with a clean and polished collection of tunes produced and recorded by Jonny Bell of the Crystal Antlers and Hanni El Khatib. This album is the first of theirs released on Innovative Leisure Records, as they depart from their previous label, Burger Records.

The Californian five-piece presents itself as an indie band with a bit of a psychedelic edge. However, there is a lot of familiarity that comes to mind within the first play-through of Island Universe. The group tends to draw upon other artists’ styles and put their own little twist on it. Vocally, the singer meanders between a Karen O/Regina Spektor sound with an exception being in “The Cat Song.” Here she harkens to a Billie Holiday sound in this eerie funeral procession-like tune that is straight vocals accompanied by strings and acoustic guitar.

Much like a theatrical production, the album exemplifies various moods. Feeding People’s “Silent Violent” is a perfect example of this.

Imagine a stage and black velvet curtains, chilled with the presence of blue light. The lull of Louis Filliger’s undulating guitar cues a lone girl onto the stage standing before the curtains behind a mic stand. The delicate weavings of Jeremy Catz’ ever moving bass line with the softest heartbeat-like patterings of Wyatt Blair’s bass drum fall into background as Jones’ pipes utter out the beginnings of a slow lament. Just when things seem to come to a screeching halt, the tune gets punchier with attitude. Instead of a lament, we’ve got a jam! Jones full of sass and soul, and a voice that hearkens to the great Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs presents us with the rising action of the production. The jam deals with its internal struggle between the sweet and the spiciness of the vocalist before deciding on the latter and fading out into nothingness. Country-tune guitars break the silence as we are given the reprieve complete with tambourines. There’s just so much going on in this song, it could be argued that it is a show in and of itself.

Albums that start off as strongly as this demand a strong album throughout, and the group have strategically collected a series of tracks that are sure to keep the listener’s full-undivided attention. Skipping the obvious title track, “Island Universe,” (which by the way, has a pretty interesting music video) since we all know that track is an obvious hit, we will delve into the weird – “Uranium Sea” carries on in a doomy psychedelic fashion. Tomas Dola$’s keys take our eardrums back to the days of The Doors, as carnival fanfares are played on a loop until it trails out to the song’s end. Away from the familiar and into the exotic, “Desert Song” places you on the streets of crowded village square somewhere in the Eastern world, where the sun is hot and the air is filled with musky fragrance. Jones’ inner monologue during the break features straight spoken word enveloped in vocalizations and cymbal crashes.

As the curtain drops to close on the album’s performance, “Closer” chimes in with a slower tempo that brings resolution to the story — a farewell song to the listener if you will. When the full band finally comes into play, the singer’s singular vocals are doubled up and layered as if there is a choir singing along with her. The clean guitar riffs play along transitioning to solo parts of Jones. The song closes with sweet lullaby-like vocalizations that are joined by the twinkly chiming of bells, as the song fades away into nothingness. Roll the credits.

  • Brandon Ottoman

    Whatever happened to responsible journalism? I’ve read a couple album reviews on Feeding People’s “Island Universe” and have been informed they are a band of teenagers and now I’m reading reviews on Wyatt Blair’s percussion on the album alongside Thomas Dola$’s innovations on the keys? This band is on an “island” hand in hand with many bands before them labeled, “Dead Before They Began”. They are neither teenagers nor do they comprise what they claim. The album “Island Universe” was recorded and written by all different individuals then they are giving credit to (aside their current guitar player and singer) same as their first album “Peace, Victory and the Devil”. None of them are teenagers, in fact they are all in their twenties, some mid-late 20’s, including guitarist Filliger. Several of the songs on “Island Universe” are re-recorded from their previous album, with most of the psychedelia and raw sounds removed. If you truly enjoy Feeding People’s albums you won’t find the same from their live performance or newly written songs as they are a completely different band. The real individuals behind these songs and recordings are Nic Rachman-guitar, Jane Reich-keys, Mike Reinhardt-percussion, and Max Reich-bass. Filliger and Jones pretending to be something they are not is not only curious, it’s wrong. Not giving credit to the real authors and producers of the album “Island Universe” is disturbing and quite frankly a complete turnoff. Although I guess their music is up and coming, for a group of teenagers…

  • Thank you Brandon.. This is nice to see.. 😉