Black Feelings – Black Feelings

January 01, 1970



Dark, moody and intense, Montreal’s Black Feelings are a
does-what-it-says-on-the-box band.


Indeed, the dreaded G-word does immediately spring to mind
here, but Black Feelings are by no means latter-day Goths. Their connection to
that genre isn’t a direct one: rather, they evoke an innovative strain of
pre-Goth post-punk, rich in sonic motifs that would then be formulaically
appropriated by legions of second-rate groups sporting silly outfits and
ill-advised make-up. Black Feelings brims with those signatures of Goth avant
la lettre
, foregrounding tumbling rhythms and tribal beats; deep, echoing
vocals; prominent melodic basslines; and mesmeric, dirgey grooves —
supplemented with austere electronic textures that enhance the brooding
ambience and give the band’s music a distinctive edge.


There’s some continuity here from the frenetic, noisy
instrumentals of the defunct Les Angles Morts, with whom Kyle Fostner (guitar/synth) and Owain Lawson (drums/vocals) served — but,
for the most part, Black Feelings work within more structured,
song-based formats. Some of the strongest moments in that regard are the
galloping “Eternal Bad Trip” and the slower, but no less menacing and
relentless “Hidden Dance.”


One of the key reference points here appears to be This
Heat, another intense trio with a singing drummer. While that influence
manifests itself in the stop-start rhythms, chanted vocals and martial beat of
tracks like “Lost Rings Pt. 1,” it’s also apparent on the more
experimental pieces, particularly the expansive, droning standout “Aum
Shinrikyo” and the melancholy, atmospheric “Gails,” where
Lawson’s wailing vocal also calls to mind Eyeless in Gaza.


Over the last five years or so, it’s become almost de rigueur for bands to mine the
post-punk era for inspiration. More often than not, this results in clever but
rather superficial pastiche. Black Feelings, however, deserve kudos for doing
something a little more substantive: sure, they recycle aspects of a very
specific late-’70s/early-’80s vocabulary, but they
add their own distinctive accent.


Standout Tracks: “Lost
Rings Pt. 1,” “Gails,” “Aum Shinrikyo” WILSON NEATE



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