Mates of Kings Of Leon (they’re on the Followills’ own label), Nashville’s The Features have certainly seen the wilderness; it took them six years to follow-up their celebrated psych-rock debut of 2004, Exhibit A, thereby missing out on their slice of the blues-revival pie.
The Wilderness this third album explores, though, is more dark prairie than dark night of the soul. Drenched in desert noir atmospheres, the album comes packaged with a pioneer-era lyric booklet and full of fist-kiss riffs and sawdust stomping blues rock with a modernist touch.
The White Stripes-ish Big Mama Gonna Whip Us Good isn’t a tale of redneck domestic abuse, but a rough-hewn treatise on global warming, while the likes of Offer Up, Another One and Kids delve into Munsters synths, 80s AOR, electro disco and cranky marimba pop.
At root, though, The Features are steeped in rock classicism: Golden Comb is a southern gothic piece of psych-blues mythology with echoes of Samson and Delilah, Fats Domino an ode to 60s surf soul.
In a US alt.rock scene ruled by the Black Keys, The Features won’t be lost in the wilds for long.