With ‘Undress,’ their first new album in three years, The Felice Brothers manage to walk that delicate tightrope between timely and timeless, crafting a collection that’s urgently relevant to the modern social and political landscape without ever losing sight of the larger picture. Offering moral clarity and sober reflection through nuanced character studies and artful parables, the band tips their caps to the biting wit of Mark Twain and the keen observation of Woody Guthrie here, presenting a series of portraits that mix the mundane and the fantastical in such a way as to blur the line between reality and metaphor: a man tosses all of his possessions into a smoldering crater; a White House spokeswoman stands naked before the nation; a small town kid turns to crime when his neighbors forsake him. In the world of The Felice Brothers, the traditionally powerful—politicians, preachers, pundits—are comical at best, rendered impotent by their own narcissistic ambition, while those who traffic in kindness and generosity are larger-than-life heroes, cast as everyday saviors walking the streets of a thankless society. In that sense, ‘Undress’ fits neatly into a long tradition of American folk storytelling, embracing what came before it even as it offers its own unique 21st Century twists along the way.
Manchester M1 5WW