There's a new denim-clad, Southern-fried band in town. The Wild Feathers, a five-piece rock outlet from Nashville dropped their debut album this week, fittingly titled "The Wild Feathers."
In the tradition of modern, good ol' fashioned rock bands of late, they pull together classic rock influences (The Allman Brothers, Willie Nelson, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers) with modern, rich, countrified harmonies and poppy guitar. Think in terms of Dawes, Delta Rae or even indie pop outfit Ivan & Alyosha.
In a modern folk rock market with some big players, it can be hard to stand out for Nashville newcomers. Unfortunately, The Wild Feathers' debut lacks the deep, full harmonies of a similar 2013 debut, Houndmouth's "From The Hills Below The City." It's hard not to compare the two new acts. Both have Southern-tinged, mid-tempo rock, with elements of folk, country and blues.
Instead of going, say, the old-school Kings of Leon or Black Keys route, both The Wild Feathers and Houndmouth decided to focus on the lighter side of their influences. Both are relatively successful in their endeavor, it's just that the latter is a little more memorable.
That's not to say that The Wild Feathers are untalented by any means or completely forgettable. It's just that there's a crowded market.
"The Wild Feathers" does, in fact, include some real standout tracks. Second song "American" has soaring guitars and a driving, riff-based beat that's perfect for getting blasted through convertible car radios during the late summer days.
The center of the album is far and away where the most interesting music nests. Lead single "The Ceiling" builds and swells into a solid Americana single. Featuring emotion-filled, strained vocals and old-school rocking guitars, "The Ceiling" breaks the mold.
"Left My Woman" features power chords for days. When Wild Feathers blast into the chorus, the bombastic sonic pleasure is hard to ignore.
The majority of "The Wild Feathers," however, comes and goes. Calling back to similar artists, there's nothing quite as emotive as Houndmouth's "Penitentiary," nor anything as purely epic as Dawes' "When My Time Comes." Both songs come from strong debut albums that helped launch their respective bands into a full-fledged rock career.
With an album full of driving Southern rock songs, these Nashvillians do have the potential to make their mark on the Americana music scene. It's just that when held up to their contemporaries, The Wild Feathers don't fluff up.