Album Review

Felsen--- Psychedelicate

Felsen - Blood Orange Moon

My first thought hearing Felsen's Blood Orange Moon? Winterpills. Only in places, of course, but in enough places that the thought pops up throughout the album. Never heard Winterpills? You should. One of the best folk/psych bands around. Start with their Tuxedo of Ashes EP. For people who have been around since the seventies, it will drag you back to the golden era of psych. For you Millennials, prepare to be impressed.

For the youngsters, well, you shouldn't have to be dragged. Music is in your DNA. By default. Like Oasis? Early Soundcarriers? West Coast Pop Art? Norrish Reaction? Green Pajamas? I know I'm making your head hurt, but there is a method to my madness. I am trying to get you to think outside the box for that is where most of you fail when it comes to music. You think INside the box. The result is stagnation. It's a word, swear to God. I think it means the process of stagnating or something of that sort. Dictionaries just aren't what they used to be, eh?

I would say that Felsen thinks outside the box except from my perspective the box does not exist anymore. There is so much music being produced day by day that genre is slowly becoming extinct. I think that is how Americana came to be. People found that genre was not doing the job so they coined the phrase as a catch-all. Sort of a roots/acoustic backup category, if you will.

I have no idea why I just wrote that because Felsen could not by any stretch of a real listener's imagination be categorized as Americana. Psych Pop, maybe, in places. Rock, for those who don't really listen that closely. Prog Pop. Soft Rock (again, in places). Folk/Psych. I would go into all of the moderns and post- and alts and all of that, but I've never been able to make either heads nor tails of them. I think I will go with Folk/Psych just because I have lived long enough to have heard the first rumblings of that category and Felsen surely sounds it, if they maybe cannot be categorized by others as such.

Truth is, these guys take me back to the early seventies to early eighties when bands like Godley & Creme and Manfred Mann's Earth Band were putting out solid classics like “Joey's Camel” and “Stranded”, respectively. Ever hear those? Floating, softly rhythmic, melodic, soaring with a little crunch thrown in at just the right moments. Hell, that's Felsen! To a 'T'.

Pick your track and I can give you an equivalent, though perhaps for only a few seconds of a song--- Winterpills here and Dala there and the aforementioned Manfred Mann and 10CC/Godley & Creme. It is not Felsen copying them. It's Felsen having a similar feel or attachment to a song or movement. I love it when I hear artists having the same musical bent without having heard one another. Okay, maybe these guys have heard Mann or Godley/Creme, but I would bet a hundred bucks they haven't heard Dala. They might even be shocked to realize that they sound-resemble two of the best female folk/Pop duos Canada ever produced. Only in places, mind you, but...

They resemble Oasis at times, too, that sixties/seventies sound oozing from their amps like it was that era all over again. Moody Blues? A bit. All the while keeping the sound fresh and original.

They tell me there are more Felsen albums out there. I need to do some research, methinks, because this album has been in heavy rotation since I received it. I'm curious about what they have done before. And I am curious about what they will do in the future.

Favorite track? Can't pick one because they laid this puppy out so beautifully it builds from beginning to end. If I had to pick, it would be either “Unemployed in Chicago” or the title track. They hit the peak of psych for me, reminding me of Winterpills, Oasis and Norrish Reaction all rolled into one.

No good music anymore? Fa! Only for those who stopped listening a long time ago.