Wednesday, 1 May 2019

EP: Felonies - What Comes Next

The Felonies - What Happens Next.

Formed in 2015, Wicklow-based alt-punks Felonies have striven to define themselves as one of Ireland’s most exciting live acts. Taking inspiration from the re-emergence of distorted garage rock and post-punk, the band combines raw lyricism, harsh musicality and melodic hooks to carve their unique sound.

There's a brash and intensely enjoyable hi-octane trundle that barges it's way unforgivably right across the entire 6 tracks of Felonies debut EP What Comes Next. This smash and grab sound trickles like dark melted treacle over the themes of the DIY-recorded and produced collection of tracks, whose theme is borne from the frustration of the myriad reasons behind the mass emigration of Irish youth over the past number of years. 

This is an important concept to have delivered in 2019, when the crash happened it was jobs that were the issue, but despite 'positive economic forecasts', young Irish people still bear the impact of the crisis. Pay is negligible when looked at as a ratio to the cost of basic needs such as a roof over your head (merely renting), seeing colleagues further into their career but doing the same work (or less) earning multiples of your salary due to 'temporary' cut-backs, has led to a brain drain in many areas.

The opening passage finds us at an airport waiting to board, you can't even leave the country because of the weather! On 'Welcome' a background snare rattle and wonky riff light the match and set fire to the frustration, cleverly using the pilot's on-board announcement to explain why you are young, Irish, and fucked, musically Felonies fling catchy hooks at us like ninja stars whilst bone-rattling their way through a caustic and distorted call and response. 

Following the skulking darkness of the drug crutch that is 'S.A.P.', lyrical delivery is spot on once again on the anti-rose glasses 'Small Town Syndrome', a despondent ode to those left behind, not just in the country, but by society, and who have given up all hope, condemned to what feels like a meaningless existence. The cross-over between psych-rock and punk from 2 minutes onwards is a joy to behold. 

If you want to get aurally bruised the intro to 'You're so Dark' is just the ticket, here Felonies flush 90's noise-rock right down the middle of the sonic funnel, rabid and chaotic, the finale is a thunderous hand-slap in the face almost drawing blood. 'Guide to Art' is a highlight for me, again incorporating the call-and-response vocals which duel frantically amid hard-rock, in one song the band have managed to traverse punk, classic and heavy rock in the most entertaining way. 

Sometimes artists can over-construe themes, burying them so deep and making them so broad that the message can get lost. Felonies are acute and precise with both lyrics and the idea behind What Comes Next?. It's a brave topic for a young band to take on, there or no illusions or allusions, it wears it's heart on its sleeve and it doesn't dwell on complexity, which isn't really a merry bedfellow for punk-driven angst anyway. Although they've been together for a number of years, it's still early doors for Felonies in terms of their output and reach, coupled with what I deem to be one of the best live bands in the country right now, and an ambitious debut EP, the world can be their oyster at the moment, and the path to the top of the mountain isn't looking too steep.