THE FEEL BAD HIT - Smokesignals

The Feel Bad Hit - Smokesignals

6 songs
22:27 minutes
***** ***


Last year I was positively surprised by the warm and fuzzy indie rock of The Feel Bad Hit Of The Winter. The Kansas City trio didnít wait long for the sophomore EP Smokesignals to come out, although a few things have changed. First of all they are no longer signed to a label but decided to self-release the EP, and secondly they shortened their name simply to The Feel Bad Hit, possibly because their EPís usually seem to have Summer release dates. The line-up is still the same though, so that the sound doesnít differ too much from the debut.

The record starts with the instrumental title track, at just under two minutes probably worker rather as an extended intro than as a regular song. Still it sets the mood already for what is to follow. The band mixes post punk with garage rock, all enveloped in a very lo-fi production that might scare away the hi-fi aficionados, but those who still believe that rock music belongs in small, sweaty clubs and not on big arenas, should definitely not mind. King Asshole shows The Feel Bad Hit from their coarser side. This rather up-tempo track feels less post and more punk, without giving up the dreamlike quality that the vocals manage to infuse into the songwriting. The following Amelia is the EPís highlight and possibly the best song the trio has come up with so far. I get a very strong early Guided By Voices vibe, in the vein of contrasting a wonderfully saccharine melody with the most distorted lo-fi production one can think of. At times one even get a hint of shoegaze melancholia, to add even more depth to the overall sound.

The EPís second half begins with the sombre proto-ballad The Ballad Of Bottleís Bottom, which would also have fitted perfectly well on one of Robert Pollardís more introspective albums. (Asleep) In The Driverís Seat sees the band in a more rocking mood, even though the melancholic component is still exceedingly strong, also thanks to the clear, sad sounding vocals that always and again feel unexpected yet definitely welcome within the otherwise harsh and distorted guitar driven sound. The concluding Departure Times is another fine example of noisy indie rock.

Maybe The Feel Bad Hit are one of those bands that prefer to release EPs on a regular basis instead of letting their fans wait for years to get a longer full time record. Frankly I think the EPs are just as good, as they allow the band to concentrate on their best material, and knowing that one year later youíll get the next instalment will make the shorter running time less of a catastrophe. Like last year, The Feel Bad Hit have once again come up with a selection of fine lo-fi songs that should appeal to fans of early Nineties indie rock ŗ la Guided By Voices, Pavement and the likes. The band itself quotes newer bands like Thee Oh Sees, Wavves, Cloud Nothings as orientation aids, but that proves once again that what goes around comes around. Noisy lo-fi indie rock will probably never die, and The Feel Bad Hit are one of the genre bands you should keep your eyes and ears on.

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