Thursday, June 24, 2010

Review: Felsen "Accidental Drowning"

"The story of Felsen begins with drummer/producer Andrew Griffin, heard all over San Francisco and beyond for years as co-founder of the famed East Bay Wrecking Crew, a rhythm section for hire that has supported literally hundreds of local bands over the last six years. As a sideman, Andrew has toured and recorded with the likes of CAKE, Vince Welnick, members of Camper Van Beethoven, Jonathan Richman, Viv, The Bloody Lovelies, and many other great acts both signed and indie. A close encounter with a life-threatening illness three years ago left Griffin physically, emotionally, and financially drained, but also gifted him with a flood of songs dealing with powerful themes: surviving catastrophe (Accidental Drowning), ridiculing the ridiculous (Lay Kenneth Lay), and appreciating the power of family and friendship (I’m The One That Loves You), as well as healthy doses of playfulness and fun (Heroin, Two Utensils In One)."

Felsen specializes in pop rock for grown ups - the songs go down easy, most with a groove that will make you want to nod along. Some people are going to find their new record, "Accidental Drowning", a lot like watching soccer - not a lot of action for awhile, but then suddenly - goal! And when Felsen scores it is a big deal, quite a thrill. The lyrics on this CD are truly original and often insightful, fitting comfortably in this brand of artful pop rock. Vocals fall somewhere between Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum) and Moe Berg (Pursuit of Happiness), so they are not the most polished in the world, but seem well-suited to the music of Felsen. Lots of well-placed backing vocals make many of these songs a soothing pleasure to hear.

Standout tracks include the title track, "Heroin", "Karma", "Radios Tweaking", and the George Harrison-esque closer, "In The Middle Of The Night". Felsen takes a couple spins to stick, but you'll soon feel yourself being pulled in by the undertow. For fans of Luce, Dave Pirner, and Michael Penn.

iPOD-worthy: 2, 4, 6, 9, 12

Felsen on MySpace. Official site.