What does it sound like?:
The Felice Brothers and Simone Felice have released a number of EPs of rarities and live material over the years, characterised by lo-fi and minimalist instrumentation, focusing on the lyrics, vocals and bare bones of the songs. The Projector, Simone Felice’s third solo release is very much in that tradition, and boy is it good. Featuring 9 songs and one spoken word poem, its sparse and spacey musicality contains splashes of guitar that sound like they have been strummed in empty rooms; there are rumbles of drums, plaintive bursts of accordian, and all sorts of other echoey sounds underpinning this fabulous record. Simone Felice is in fine voice, croaking and crooning out lyrics about the lost and dispossesed, and these are songs held together by a strong poetic sensibility – ‘I used to pull a crowd / Pull the shade / Pull the coroner’s sheet over the mess that we made / There’s figures moving in the shadows / I got my hand on a blade / They say it’s wise to pick your battles / In the old crying game / When it’s pouring rain’. (Your Hands). Spoken word poems chucked onto albums often verge on the pretentious, and can often be the track most likely to be skipped, but They’d Hang Upon My Every Word fits in here perfectly. It could equally have been set to music – all the songs here are lyric heavy – but somehow it doesn’t seem out of place. From his time with the Felice Brothers, through the Duke & The King, and on into his solo work, Simone Felice has produced a fine collection of albums, drawing on a range of American traditions from folk and country to soul. The Projector, with its sparse magnificence and fine songwriting is a career high point. One not to be missed.
What does it all *mean*?
One of 2018’s top 10 album of the year slots is already assured.
Goes well with…
Ian Felice’s In The Kingdom Of Dreams (from 2017). Those Felice siblings are a talented brood – no one else does this kind of stuff with such sure-footedness.
Might suit people who like…
Bob Dylan and The Band – but that’s all been said before. Simone Felice is his own man, with his own voice these days. This is what Richmond Fontaine would have sounded like if they’d written decent songs.