Review: Dead Feathers ‘Full Circle’

So, let’s not fuck around with this and just dive straight in. Quintet Dead Feathers, hailing from Chicago, are peddling a line in psych rock that is both familiar, fresh and new. Twin guitars, bass. Drums. Vocals. Nothing new of note, just another retro rock ‘n’ roll band who are enmeshed in a love of a long-dead scene. But Dead Feathers quickly proved to be much more than that!

Dead Feathers 'Full Circle' Artwork
Dead Feathers ‘Full Circle’ Artwork

It was very apparent from the first lysergic throb and its sweet and silky wah-drenched feedback-tinged guitars that Full Circle, the new album by Dead Feathers, was gonna grip me by the ear and make me take notice. Spooky, ethereal and understated in a lot of spaces, but way cool and authentic too.

The title track, Full Circle, jumps out of the gate and leaves no doubt about where these dudes have been sleeping. A rolling, guitar-driven song with enough class to survive being the opening track! Some huge vocal moments tease at what’s to come as well. The second track, Lightning, has a raunchy and organic vibe to it, and some interplay between the guitars and rhythm section that keeps it bouncing along nicely.

The off kilter but super-liquid drumming splatters the tunes but are also very cool, an excellent and slightly haphazard counterpoint to the often very measured and defined guitars. Vocally, Grace Slick is an obvious point of reference, with Marissa Welu’s strident and punchy pipes (not to mention a killer ear for a great melody!) clearly set Dead Feathers apart from a plethora of other bands. Both guitar players build their respective parts in a structured way to add flesh to the bones and this element helps to the uniqueness of the band’s sound.

Full Circle is a great album with lotsa hidden moments that step out and deliver an audio surprise for the listener on repeated plays…

Daughters gears down a bit after the initial power trip of the first two tracks, with the guitars being caressed into a gentle lullaby but Ms Welu keeps jumping outta her box, and stretching out that throat. The song itself is a haunting and lush ballad with peaks and valleys that really typifies the style of the band in most respects.

Robbery clocks in at close enough to ten minutes and rises and falls numerous times. The vocal line tracks behind the guitars and squeezes enough juice outta the melody to paint the walls. I dig the loping drums and their relentless creeping into the song. Galapagos wraps up the show, with the pretty guitar picking and some dream-like bass and drums. Marissa pulls back and gives the song a Celtic kinda vibe too.

So, let’s not be too subtle here; truly great vocalists ain’t falling outta trees, generally speaking. And the importance of a frontperson who can blow the doors off a room and lift a band outta the quagmire is sadly too often shown the light of day by mediocre singers. Modern bands like Blues Pills, and the lesser known The Riven, are both shining examples of seriously great frontwomen and this band gets to join ‘em on my list to keep an eye on. And this is also definitely the crown glory for the band.

Based on this album, I hope to get to check Dead Feathers out live one day, which I’m sure would be something of a ‘religious’ experience. Full Circle is a great album with lotsa hidden moments that step out and deliver an audio surprise for the listener on repeated plays. And I liked Full Circle so much I’ve now got a copy of the band’s first album in the post!

Label: Ripple Music
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Twitter | Instagram

Scribed by: El Jefe