Feel Not Bad

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The appropriately titled Feel Not Bad is the warm, jangling debut from Fayetteville, Arkansas indie pop quintet SW/MM/NG. Difficult name aside, their music is decidedly trouble-free as they turn in a set of sparkling guitar pop tunes in the key of summer. In both structure and melody, the band prefers simplicity, letting the songs unfold at their own pace while using a palette of gentle psychedelia and heavy doses of reverb to color the backdrop. Echoes of Galaxie 500's pastoral indie rock resound throughout the album's eight tracks, most of which clock in around a somewhat lengthy five minutes, which is occasionally a bit too long and leaves attention to drift. The songwriting and melodies are well-crafted and enjoyable, but their brand of shimmering, low-key pop is probably better served in bite-sized doses. The carefree catchiness of "Some Dreams Come True" and "Younger" is undeniable, and there is a very likeable charm to the whole affair even if, at times, it fails to fully captivate. The album's sequence is a bit curious, with the more upbeat and midtempo tracks up top and a cluster of slow burners holding down the back end, slowing the momentum. Still, after so many songs in a similar vein, the pensive and moody "Oils" is a welcome change, boasting a very John Squire-inspired guitar tone. The closing number "Good to Be" cruises at a comparable speed, but ends the album on a warm, uplifting note as it concludes in a lovely swirl of orchestrated flutes, organ, and guitars. It's a promising debut from a band with a lot of style, though some further attention to diversity and brevity could improve their future chances.

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