Mother Feather... sounds like a mispronunciation of "mother fucker"? That's precisely what it was when NYC singer Ann Courtney first uttered the phrase in 2009, as a Freudian slip, when her intentions were to declare "fucker" instead of "feather". Intrigued by the subconscious slip of words that left her mouth, Ann introspectively contemplated her sense of self, which prompted the beginning of a transformation from creating art centered around self-deprecation to a significantly more optimistic energy and resilience. Thus, her previous outfit, Ann Courtney and The Late Bloomers, fell by the wayside and Mother Feather was born to fulfill the empowerment conceptualisation behind her newfound positivity.
Snapped up by Brian Slagel following a listening recommendation from celebrity chef Chris Santos, Mother Feather's forthcoming, eponymously titled, debut album is set to be released on Metal Blade Records, and it's a corker! The bulk of tracks have been drawn from the two EPs they released independently in 2011 and 2013, with the addition of two newly recorded songs - 'Natural Disaster' and 'The Power'. Within the band's self-coined genre of "pop cock rock", the album offers a fairly diverse listen, with various rock idioms deployed in the most organic and boundless of ways. Moments of garage, grunge and glam can be heard throughout, but have been appropriated within the context of some incredibly well-written compositions that transcend any notion of genre mimicry. Far from a retro exercise in pastiche, listening to Mother Feather is actually a rather refreshing experience. It's all about the song, rather than the genre. And each track effuses so much effervescence, energy, euphoria, emotion and edginess... this is pure sonic ecstasy!
The instrumentations have struck a fine balance between raw rock sonics and production polish. It's a nicely organic sounding record where the music sounds 'alive'; a living, breathing entity. Kind of apt, in that sense, that album opener is 'Living, Breathing'! And Ann's singing is magnificent in its wide ranging tonality, astute phrasing and emotional depth, and succeeds in weaving some anthemically charged melodies through the music. While the album's loaded with hooks galore and memorable, catchy refrains, Mother Feather's sonic ecstasy is at its most potent for me on three particular tracks: 'Mirror', a sublime alt-rock piece which perfectly epitomises Ann's vocal versatility; 'Trampoline', an appositely bouncy number with its quasi-funk/reggae rhythms; and 'Beach House', a neo-surf-rocker characterised by a fantastic bassline, ridiculously well executed vocal phrasing and tonal shifts, and a chorus driven by a four-on-the-floor rhythm.
It's all great, to be honest, and the album makes for a strong debut for this NYC band. I'm sure a few debates will be sparked as to why Metal Blade have signed a distinctly non-metal band (which, for the record, isn't their first), but two things must be noted here. First, Brian Slagel has great taste in music - trust the man. Second, this should be filed under the genre of "fucking great music" so the record label's irrelevant in that sense. Nuff said.
Review by Mark Holmes
13th May 2016
1) Living, Breathing
3) Natural Disaster
5) Mother Feather
7) Beach House
8) The Power
9) They Tore Down the SK8 Park
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...each track effuses so much effervescence, energy, euphoria, emotion and edginess... this is pure sonic ecstasy!"