Thursday, March 19, 2009
Austin Chronicle reviews Yonder is the Clock
BY DOUG FREEMAN
The Felice Brothers
Yonder Is the Clock (Team Love)
Helmed by siblings Ian, Simone, and James, eldest of seven tumbling down from New York's Catskill Mountains, the Felice Brothers re-create their own Basement Tapes with a loose roots style and Ian's plodding and gritty vocals. The quintet's fourth LP opens dirgelike with the beautifully disillusioned "The Big Surprise" before exploding on "Penn Station," pounded out in a raucous Avett Brothers-meets-Malcolm Holcombe fervor. Ian's sandpaper voice arrests even as he evokes familiar like-throated singers: Tom Waits on "Buried in Ice" and the haunted piano waltz of "Sailor Song"; Bob Dylan everywhere, but especially "Ambulance Man" and "Boy From Lawrence County." Yet, Ian emerges as equally poetic, winding epic narratives of pure Americana such as the nostalgic "Cooperstown." The trembling "All When We Were Young" is less convincing, and "Memphis Flu" falls apart in drunken frenzy before it even starts, but across 13 songs, Yonder Is the Clock proves timeless.