Chop Suey Presents: Feral Children
Sat, Feb 8, 2014 at 9pm
With Special Guests
Carletta Sue Kay (SF)
Not long ago, a group of genuinely backwoods dudes from the country moved to Seattle and began playing shows that burned with primal intensity and soared with pop sensibility. They called themselves Feral Children—a wholly appropriate name for a bunch of wild boys from rural Maple Valley, WA—and were ready to stake their claim in Seattle’s celebrated music scene.
It didn’t take long for them to catch the ear of KEXP FM and the local press, who jumped all over their debut, Second to the Last Frontier with rare and unanimous praise: This record "will undoubtedly be heralded as one of [the year's] best" (The Stranger), "the future is now for the Feral Children" (John Richards, KEXP), and even "Perfect, absolutely perfect" (Seattle Sound Magazine).
Like their debut album, Brand New Blood contains music that evokes Feral Children’s home territory—sprawling, chilly, vast, strange, and, at times, violently stormy.
Scott Colburn, who's credits include Animal Collective’s sixth studio album Feels, produced Feral Children’s Brand New Blood and his ability to push a band into the stratosphere is all over the album. This second release is all about atmosphere; specifically, the Pacific Northwest woods featured in Twin Peaks or Twilight.
In fact, the band doesn’t sound like they are playing in a studio at all. The cold blankets of synthesizer (“Kid Origami”), the tooth-clattering percussion that sounds like the breaking of bones (“Castrato”), the volatile guitars (“Enchanted Parkway”) —this album feels as if it were recorded along the banks of the Green River Gorge at 3 a.m. in the middle of January.
Take a listen to the album’s centerpiece, the colossal “Conveyer”, in which the band’s wonderfully askew perspective of society is on full display. “This world is like a video game controlled by lonely boys with attention deficit disorder,” sings Jeff Keenan in a huffy manner that suggests total exasperation with everyday life. The song eventually erupts into full-throttle Arcade Fire-like pounding with Keenan frothing and barking the lyrics: “The milk calls the coffee black/ and Mother Nature’s getting so fat!”
A deeper listen will reveal Feral Children are onto a whole other trip musically, one that feeds off of isolation and loneliness, the ghosts of their working-class pasts. Desolate as it may sound, though, it’s obvious they are happy to have each other for company. Messed up individuals they may be, but they seem to understand each other and speak fluently through their music. Feral Children are proud to stand together as a pack: defiant, dysfunctional, and outsiders to the core.