Felix McTeigue

Felix McTeigue

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As rock & roll grows older, it's become quite commonplace for the offspring of its progenitors to enter the family business. And while often the subsequent records are marginal at best, there have been a handful of pleasant surprises. One such delight is the independently released, self-titled debut from Felix McTeigue, the son of the Roches' Maggie Roche. McTeigue shares his mother's talent for writing intelligent and fetching, if slightly left-of-center, material, delivering a dozen (13, if you include the amusing hidden track) irresistible folk-pop tunes that can be as joyful as they can be melancholy, but always with a keen eye on the everyday. From the opener, "212"," whose charming refrain is merely his old telephone number, McTeigue also shows a gift for writing irresistible choruses that are memorable almost from the first listen. The sound, built around a basic guitar, bass, and drum lineup, is sparse and relaxed throughout, with just enough polish and craft beneath the surface to accentuate the songs' undeniable pop qualities. Lyrically, McTeigue is clever but not cloying, quirky without the cuteness, and affecting without becoming mawkish. The use of various family members, including his mother, aunt (Terre Roche), and cousin (Lucy Roche) on backing vocals, does give things a distinct Roche feel at times, but it's McTeigue's idiosyncratic songs and unassuming vocal, which teeters somewhere between Phil Ochs and early Neil Young, with the occasional lazy urban drawl of Rufus Wainwright, that carry the proceedings. Recorded in apartments, basements, and garages around New York on a shoestring budget, this is as promising and successful as an independent first effort gets.

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