When it came time for Murfreesboro, TN’s The Features to craft a new album, you can’t blame them for looking for a change. Venturing to Vancouver, WA must have been exactly what the band needed as they transitioned from southern rock to artful pop rock on their self-titled fourth album.
The band furthers the progression from The Wilderness with a well balanced album that focuses even more on keys and synth. “In Your Arms” engages in thumping percussion, humming synth and swelling riffs as Matt Pelham’s spectral vocals hue the track. The biggest departure from the norm appears on “Ain’t No Wonder” as robotic harmonized vocals temper the deep keyboard notes. Not everything needed an update though. The Features have always had the chops to craft enthusiastic anthems, but “Fox On The Run” and “With Every Beat” would make their label heads, Kings of Leon, proud. The blistering guitars are still present (particularly the 2 min mark of “Regarding PG”, “Won’t Be Long”), hooky earworms are still ready to circle your head for days (“This Disorder”) and strong bass lines balance Pelham’s trademark howl (the groove of “The New Romantic” is reminiscent of Talking Heads). As industry veterans, refinement of what has worked in the past combined with these new elements should continue the Features’ upward momentum.