Alt-country/folk is sufficed with similar-sounding, even similar-looking, acts, from troubadours or collectives. The Felice Brothers manage to be a family collective (even though only two of them, Ian – QRO interview – and James – QRO interview – are actual Felices), but can range from group revival to intimate personal stories. This continues with yet another impressive release, Life In the Dark.
Like other Felice records, Life is roughly divided between the upbeat and the downbeat, and which side you like more probably depends on your mood. One can’t deny the sheer enjoyment of the opening roustabout “Aerosol Ball”, saloon revival “Plunder”, fiddlin’ good time “Dancing On the Wing”, or even the hootenanny instrumental “Sally!”. But one is also very touched by the elegant power of “Triumph ‘73”, sad father’s goodbye “Sell the House” (which is followed by a more revival hidden track), or Ian Felice at his story-telling best, “Diamond Bell”.
It could be said that The Felice Brothers are following ground that they’ve already tread up in their backwoods of the Catskills, but that’s a minor quibble when they do it this well.