Album Review: Feast or Famine – “Edmonton & Company”

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First of all, I have to share a little info with you from the liner notes about how Feast or Famine feels.

“These songs were written and recorded during a sedentary period in our home city of Edmonton, Alberta. While we watched dozens of friends, acquaintances and musicians move to more ‘fruitful’ artistic settings, we decided to remain based out of Edmonton and continue working on our own scene and community. We started to realize that we were not alone in this endeavor and over time met some of the most gifted people and bands that this country has to offer. As we continued building and strengthening these links, we could not ignore the growing sense of unity and camaraderie between the musicians and bands. If you can’t be happy everywhere, you won’t be happy anywhere and we are happy to call Edmonton our home.”

It fills the heart doesn’t it? That’s what they put in to the scene and that’s what they put in to this release, and it shows.

With that being said, the ska/punkers have taken a big step with their album shoes on “Edmonton & Company.” Now I’m not saying that their last album “Good For People, Bad For Business” is bad, because it’s amazing. It’s just that the songs on “E&C” are stronger and more mature. The production is flawless and the arrangements of tracks are smartly chosen to make it feel almost as if it is one continuous song.

1. “Another Pandemic” gently eases you into the CD with some clean guitars and then you are punched in the face with drums and a mean bass riff. This song has such a groove to it and great lyrics like “When I get home I like to sing along with my band Feast or Famine” The song is about how the media blows up things like the H1N1 scare and it sets the pace for the rest of the record. It gets stuck in your head. It’s addicting. Very addicting.

2. “Broken Bones (Injuries Heal, Don’t Hold Grudges).” The guitars from the last song fade in to this one and the band kicks in. This track mostly strays away from the ska that Feast is known for and is mostly a straight up punk song with a pretty fast part.

3. “Palms Up Drunk” has a kind of pirate Mad Caddies feel to it. Like “Weird Beard” but a little faster and the lyrics aren’t a positive drink-a-long. It’s about a guy who drinks himself to death. Halfway through the song there’s a break down where it gets really rummy and peg-leggy by slowing down and then slowly building back up to the regular tempo of the song. I’ll raise my drink to this song. Wait, does that mean I’m a “Palms Up Drunk?”

4. “We Try and Fail” heads back to the ska/punk genre with inspirational music about not giving up because “next time will be a different story. We learn from our mistakes so our choices keep getting better and better and better.” This is one of those classic Feast songs that triple dog dares you not to dance or move in some way. Just as the song suggests the band and their albums “…keep getting better and better and better.”

5. “Interlude” is a 50 second instrumental break in the album that flows nice into the sixth track. If I ever travel back in time to 1885 and I have to battle Tannen in a dueling gunfight this is the song I want to be played as I walk up to the fight in slow motion.

6. “Cowboy Trail” starts with the acoustic picking up from the “Interlude” and blasts into the distorted guitars then switching to the upstroke ska beat. The lyrics talk about Highway 22 in Alberta and how it is called The Cowboy Trail. The song talks about the struggle between the natural beauty of the earth and the devastating destruction of that beauty with oil.

7. “Locked Doors” is the best song on the CD. Yeah, I singled it out. Feast has this way of writing such a catchy, fun song that is easy to sing and dance to. With “Locked Doors” they perfect their art. The lyrical content deals with people uniting together to be a part of the community and living together as loving human beings. It’s deep and skankable.

Feast or Famine, you had me at Edmonton.



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