[sic] Magazine

Feeding People – Island Universe

You know how it is when a former favourite nose-dives. You feel robbed of time and effort, foolish for having loved and ultimately lost. Those still smarting from Howling Bells ‘ decision to go a bit shit may find some solace in the company of California quintet Feeding People and their sophomore collection Island Universe . Sweet release may only prove fleeting however for while the stomping opener “Silent Violent” – noir country nod and all – does reignite flames past, the majority of the album lands somewhere closer to the Those Darlins ‘ brand of rawkabilly and/or the frenzied garage-rock of The Bitters .

What’s certain is that the band’s patchwork rock has a real task on its hands balancing guitarist Louis Filliger ‘s brash songwriting with Jessie Jones ‘ magnetic holler. Add to this that in between migrating from garage hotbed Burger Records to the Innovative Leisure stable not one but two producers of note have been brought on board and it starts to become clear why Island Universe is a bit of a handful.

In one corner you have the power-blues pull of Hanni El Khatib , the go-to trendy advert soundtrack guy (or so it would seem), and in the other Jonny Bell of Crystal Antlers . Taking the if-the-glove-fits approach to ownership, Khatib’s probable contributions seem the more successful, pitting Jones’ raw vocal against the fuzzy blues of “Big Mother” and the downright Gothic insistence of “Uranium Sea” with impressive results. By extension, Bell’s likely input leads the vaguely Eastern-sounding “Desert Song” down a dusty trail to vintage psyche while the slightly dull “Each His Own” limps behind in the shadows.

Quite who is responsible for the curious melody that drives the title track ditty is anyone’s guess, yet it flirts with stupid and gets away with it – a battle that the nothingy “Cat Song” loses, yelping off home with its tail between its legs. Unfortunately, these lapses in quality control smatter the LP as a whole, letting down its early promise. Feeding People are still a young outfit but all the same they must still surely know that riffing your way out of trouble is rarely the answer to any question.

Advised downloads: “Uranium Sea” and “Silent Violent”.

~Island Universe is released March 18th 2013 on Innovative Leisure .~