Mike Felumlee

64 Hours

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Though the Smoking Popes are no more, outside of the Duvall semi-reunion, Popes drummer Mike Felumlee does a superb job keeping his former band's punk-pop wheels turning in the right direction with 64 Hours. Across ten songs, mostly concerning failed relationships, Felumlee creates a thoroughly endearing atmosphere that repeatedly recalls the joyous highs and emotional sorrows of the Smoking Popes. Anyone hearing just a snippet of album opener "Halfway" would think the Popes themselves are performing the track. Felumlee's vocals are just a wee bit deeper than those of his former frontman, Josh Caterer. The song, and indeed the entire album, is every bit as sweet and punchy as Born to Quit and Destination Failure, and just as addictively and unpredictably off-kilter as well. Felumlee throws a number of smart curve balls. "The Drive Home" could easily be mistaken as some shiny lost B-side from Big Star, Felumlee layers in beautiful country twang in "64 Hours," "Weakness" works like a jangling Built to Spill mini-epic, and "Last Summer" is built around heartbreaking samples from the TV show The Wonder Years. "Last Summer" is every bit as compelling as similar pop experiments from Belle & Sebastian offshoot Looper. Sunny, optimistic, and spot-on in its tales of lost loves and broken hearts, 64 Hours is a superb outing from Mike Felumlee that any Smoking Popes fans will instantly adore.

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