Feverjaw "All Bets Are Off" Album Review - 31st July 2021
Feverjaw’s “All Bets Are Off” is an ambitious debut album showcasing extensive grunge and alternative rock influences and commitment. On balance, it is dedicated and diverse effort although it is somewhat undermined by its presentation.
There are some great tracks on “All Bets Are Off”, comprising many shades from across the alt rock palette – moments of Nirvana, Feeder, post-Britrock, very-early Manic Street Preachers, Sunny Day Real Estate’s “Diary” – with some reassuringly rock-out chord patterns and catchy choruses. Stand out tracks include “Ides of March” with some pretty bad-ass riffing and satisfying chugging, “Moments of Grace” for its Hüsker Dü vibes (as cited in previous reviews) and “Arrowhead” for its dreamier Smashing Pumpkins-like density. There is a freshness in the moments of familiarity where forgotten favourites are invoked. The album also captures an appealing energy, enjoyment and excitement exuded by the band.
However, I can't help but feel a trick has been missed here. What could have sounded like a honed, heart-on-sleeve homage to classic grunge/alt-rock unfortunately sounds awkward and undefined at times – it’s a homemade sound but more “bedroom demo” than “garage masterpiece”. Often, the low end is loose, the mids are murky and the highs are harsh, with an awkward competition for space in a slightly off-balance mix that varies in consistency from track to track. The experience is sometimes distracting despite the album’s conviction and energy at heart. I dig a DIY sound, however, sending the best tracks to the right producer could have landed a focused and face-melting mini album or EP (sans any superfluous gloss).
Overall, “All Bets Are Off” is an compelling collection of songs with some satiating rocking-out. It is well worth a listen, particularly if you pine for the 90s. The execution just doesn’t quite meet the potential. Nonetheless, I’d be excited to see Feverjaw live as I get the feeling this would be the best way to experience what the band is currently about.
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