Filled with infectious rock 'n roll hooks and crisp, clean power
pop ballads, The Stills' latest Without Feathers finds
the Montreal-based indie rockers combining the sounds of such '60s
British bands as The Kinks and The Rolling Stones with
the late '90s Britpop influences prevalent in their previous effort,
Logic Will Break Your Heart. The opening "In the Beginning"
and "The Mountain" are both poetic, spirited rockers driven
by chugging power chords, while "She's Walking Out" and
"In the End" are far mellower piano-driven fare. "Helicopters"
hints at the band's former obsession with Echo and the Bunnymen
with tremolo guitars and synthesizer touches. The rousing "Oh
Shoplifter" is the album's standout track, however. Featuring
hand clap percussion and a catchy melody worthy of Ray Davies,
"Oh Shoplifter" is the tale of stolen love and heartbreak
that features the most inspired harmonies on Without Feathers.
"Halo the Harpoons" is yet another Britpop-inspired song
with a power pop guitar refrain, while "It Takes Time" is
a sublime post-punk rocker featuring horns, power chords, and a double
time drum beat. The final three tracks - the angry horn- and guitar-infused
"Destroyer," the post-New Wave synthesizer duet with Broken
Social Scene's Emily Haines "Baby Blues," and
the tender tremolo guitar-driven "The House We Live In"
- round out the album nicely. On Without Feathers, The Stills
manage to weave a unique musical tapestry using seemingly divergent
influences, insuring that they will not fall prey to the sophomore
slump so common in the indie rock genre.
-Tracy M. Rogers
1. In the Beginning
2. The Mountain
3. She's Walking Out
5. In the End
6. Oh Shoplifter
8. Halo the Harpoons
9. It Takes Time
11. Baby Blues
12. The House We Live In
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