The Felice Brothers got their start busking in the subways of New York and every note, every beat, every line on their Favorite Waitress album has kind of a grimy, sweaty, sticky feel like a subway platform in August. But that's the price you pay to see humanity flowing past. It might not be pretty. It might,well, stink a little. But it's fascinating, beautiful, and energizing too. It's a rock & roll album but not in an arena rock kind of way or a singer-songwriter way. It's kind of cinematic. Kind of atmospheric. But in more of a drive in theater way, not an arthouse flick kind of way.
There's always been a Dylan/Band vibe in the Felice Brothers work. They are masters of obtuse lyrics that nag at you because you just know if you ponder them a little longer you'll figure out something profound in them. But you never quite manage it. It's like a slice of life held up for you to absorb rather than understand.
The Felice Brothers have sadly lost Simone who has started a family, written books, and produced solo albums. The new lineup of the Felice Brothers includes Ian Felice (vocals, guitar), James Felice (accordion, keyboards, & vocals), Greg Farley (fiddle, vocals), Josh Rawson (bass, vocals), and David "Esta" Estabrook (drums). As I understand it, this is the first album that is a full studio album and you can hear it around the edges in the production. A little reverb here and there. Some samples and sound clips added to the song mixes. Doesn't sound like a subway platform anymore, but it still has the world weary vibe going for it. The core thing we've all come to know and like about the Felice Brothers sound is still there on every song.
I'm adding "Bird On Broken Wing," "Cherry Licorice," "Katie Cruel," and "Woman Next Door" to rotation.
Preview Favorite Waitress by Felice Brothers on Amazon.