Saturday, 7 February 2015

Album Review - Felix Champion - This Lateral Life

As I listen to the initial one minute and nine seconds of the debut album This Lateral Life from Felix Champion, I am perplexed by the very sound of what I’m hearing. Intro creeps in subtly and elegantly with spoils of anticipation and chimes of their own divergent vibes. And suddenly there it is, Snow Graves grabs you with an almighty force, blasting open with overlapping vocals and chords before the pariah of screams begin, and I’m now assured, Felix Champion are here.

These Four Walls runs with a high intensity and adrenaline filled instrumental behind the somewhat more mellow, and authentic vocals behind it. The volatile nature of both the guitar and drums allows the vocals to drop back, and accompany the music as opposed to taking such a prominent role. The dominance of the instruments carries the track and provides the vocals with further substance and authenticity.

The theme of boisterous and rebellious rock continues into Sleeping Ecstasy as the culmination of raging guitar and anguished vocals results in the listener experiencing a high octane journey of Felix Champion in their intricate prime.

Frenzied guitar is taken to a whole other level during Canyons as Felix Champion’s furiously riled up vocals, and instruments explode in a delirium of post-hardcore prodigy. Stitches encourages the four piece’s Scottish accents to come out to play. Trapped to a degree by the overwhelming American genre, it is a breath of fresh air to hear angry Scottish music, with the same momentum and honesty of its origin.

Like Hunter and Ropes continue to ignite the fire within the band, with raw and pulsating vocals.

It is as we encounter track 10 on the album, French Wine, that I discovered a new side to Felix Champion. The guitar and bass is not only intriguingly complex but amidst the gusts of fury, there is a glimmer of beauty. Something I imagine was not part of the band’s original plan but it’s definitely there, seeping out. The guitar lines are in full force, with the same surge of angst but portrayed with more fragility, rendering it rhythmically stunning.

In the lead up to the final track, Breathe In Breathe Out and Animals provide us with the final moments of the album, not before The Lateral Life.

Felix Champion have sustained their own sound throughout this album, allowing for moments of candour and surprise, but all the while providing the convoluted and bellowing album you would expect from Felix Champion.

Guitars swirl in full rapturous manner, which is met equally by the infectious energy of the drums producing a wave of unadulterated rock. Vocals fade and drown, and the instrumental remains in all its wonderful majestic presence. The culmination of every piece coming together so tightly has resulted in a euphoric anthem.

- Melanie McKinlay

Felix Champion - The Lateral Life is out now on Bloc+Music and is available on CD and download via iTunesBandcamp and Soundcloud.

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