Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Feral Children

We have lots of feral children round our way, roaming in packs, all exuding a savage demeanour with an underlying aura of menace. It's all part of the collapse of civilised culture in British urban communities, or the increasing neglect and demonisation of our nations misunderstood youth, depending on whether you're a hand wringing wet nosed liberal or a 'bring back National Service' type with a hang'em and flog 'em approach to discipline.

Feral Children are a Seattle based, experimental rock five piece, who have recently released their debut album 'Second to The Last Frontier' on Sarathan Records. They recorded it in six days and enlisted Scott Colburn, of Animal Collective, Arcade Fire, Mudhoney and Modest Mouse production merit, to do the studio magic. The band have just one previous release, with a four track E.P called 'Eternity Emergency' which came out in 2006.

Jim Cotton (bass/vocals) and Jeff Keenan (guitar/vocals/percussion) were junior high school friends from the backwater town Maple Valley, WA, they started playing music as a diversion from the boredom of these rural surroundings. They recruited guitarist Josh Gamble and keyboardist Sergy Posrednikov and became Blood Alley Accident. After graduating from high school, the band went their separate ways for a couple of years, but Cotton reassembled his musical compatriots, in the musical cauldron of Seattle, enlisting a second drummer, Bill Cole as well and F.C were born. These guys are by no means the finished article, but tracks like Jaundice Giraffe and Spy/Glasshouse stand out, as fizzling with enough malevolent energy, to make one sit up and take notice. It's a vibe that should connect with an eager indie/alt/new wave rock audience.

They quote The Raincoats as an influence and a nod towards Killing Joke and The God Machine springs to mind, but Feral Children are less relentless in the pursuit of a sonic attack and can change the pace of the tunes, by side stepping into more delicate sequences. The music has a brooding intensity, with duel drums orchestrating a heathen beat, images of a tribal gathering are conjured up, where some unspeakable sacrifice might just take place. Arcade Fire references are also bandied about, but this is a bit of a red herring, as the almost religious fervor, that is induced by the Fire's rich layered sound, is akin to them playing to a converted congregation. F.C are more primal in their approach, a street preacher hectoring passing pedestrians if you like, demanding that they stop and listen to his tormented rant, for the good of their souls.

They exude that 'frontier' quality of their album title, that nestles within the dark underbelly of American culture. It's all about claiming a piece of the virgin soil, pitching up and surviving the first harsh winter, establishing yourself on the farm and perhaps even prospering, according to to your will to survive. Picture Grant Wood's 'American Gothic' painting, pitchfork and all, think about an obscure religious sect, set in the Kansas countryside, with failing crops ravaged by disease, whose children are struck down by strange afflictions, brought on by too much interbreeding. Feral Children are the sounds lurking inside a deserted trailer in Blair Witch territory. They are the child Laura Ingalls Wilder never speaks of, tapping away in the cellar, beneath the Little House on Prairie!

Get free mp3s here

No comments: