THE FEATURES- Some kind of salvation

Although having been in the business since 1994, the majority of the UK music press would have you believe that The Features have only just been discovered by Kings of Leon, having toured with Kings of Leon, have had their album produced by Jacquire King- responsible for twiddling the knobs of Kings of Leon- and do I really need to mention whose label their recent album has been released on?

Formed at middle school in Tennessee, it is, however, a bit unfair to suggest that The Features are hanging onto the shirttails of a more successful band. As said, the quartet have been at it for some time- it merely turns out that maybe, just maybe, a lot of hard work and that old chestnut about who you know can actually make dreams come true. So no wonder then that their recent album, ‘Some kind of salvation’, has a rather cheerful feel to it; neither is it astonishing that theirs is a catalogue of songs that might resemble early material by their new buddies.

Opening track, ‘Whatever gets you by’, is a short introduction to The Features’ mostly light-hearted, melodic sound, akin to classic days of yore when Roxy Music gave us sexy saxophonists, the Rolling Stones twanged without hurting themselves and Bowie wore tights and played with his big glass ball. Of course, in the last decade, these influences have been championed -though not particularly revamped- by the likes of The Raconteurs and The Killers, two more bands that, despite being loathed by some, are also loved by many for their simplistic but, essentially, really listenable approach to good old-fashioned song-writing. ‘Foundation’s cracked’ particularly nods to the latter act, whilst ‘Temporary blues’ chorus worships at the altar of Arcade Fire, in not so much an angsty-might-afford-us-more-credibility way but still in a way that lifts the heart. “One day we’re gonna make a change/We’re gonna turn this mess around” cries lead singer Matthew Pelham, and I can hear the sound of claps reverberating around a stadium from here before ‘Lions’- an offering with an initial British influence - chimes in with a cheeky little chorus and lyrical content that, again, does not fake complexity.

“Not even lions can tear us apart”, Pelham claims convincingly. I wouldn’t like to bet on that, but the sentiment is nice all the same, reiterating the themes of love and life as found on all of the tracks herein. And whilst there are no surprises as the album progresses- ending with ‘Now you know’ which, er, sounds quite like the other tracks- though The Features might not necessarily be cool for their shameless commercialism, what they lack in originality they make up for in charm. They’re coming back to the UK in April. If you like Kings of Leon, be there.

Released 22nd February, 2010.

Anna C