The Wild Feathers

Lonely Is a Lifetime

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On their eponymous 2013 debut, Nashville's Wild Feathers delivered a workmanlike, under-the-radar Americana/country-rock gem that invoked names like Bad Company, Tom Petty, Big Star, the Band, and the Boss. Lonely Is a Lifetime, the group's sophomore outing, retains some of the classic rock architecture of their debut, but there's been a concerted effort to expand the band's sound. Like recent outings from like-minded American trad-rock confectioners Delta Spirit, the LP dials back on the twang and introduces elements of psych, pop, and anthemic alt-rock into the mix, with mixed results. The band, fresh off a long bout of touring, decamped to both Muscle Shoals and Barcelona, Spain to compose, recorded the LP in Nashville with producer Jay Joyce (Cage the Elephant, Wallflowers), and enlisted Dave Sardy (Oasis, Band of Horses) to help mix. The resulting 11-track set bristles with modern touches and big production values. For the most part, Wild Feathers received the Jeff Lynne/Dave Fridmann treatment, and while they're more than capable on the performance end of the equation, the material often lacks the gravitas to rise above the sonic bombast with which it's delivered. That's not to say that there aren't some triumphant moments. The lush, driving opener "Overnight" impresses with hooks galore and a chorus that unapologetically shoots for the moon, and the laid-back but groove-heavy "Help Me Out" flexes its Muscle Shoals roots with aplomb. Wild Feathers are at their best when aiming for that sweet spot between the backyard and the open road, and while their willingness to tweak things is admirable, all of the extra polish makes them seem less like a diamond in the rough and a little more like a cog in the machine.

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