The Beginning

The Features

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The Beginning Review

by Jason Ankeny

Count Features among the new generation of bands influenced by the Elephant 6collective; in essence, their music reflects and reconfigures a strain of classicist pop that was itself already a house of mirrors drawing on the British Invasion, sunshine pop, and more esoteric cult obsessions. Like fellow neo-revisionists the Shins, Features draw upon the basic E6 sound -- indelible melodies, lush arrangements, and clever harmonies -- but smooth out the approach with a cleaner, sharper production and tighter, more focused songcraft; over the course of just five songs and 15 minutes, The Beginning covers an impressive swath of ground, from the Elvis Costello-esque "Walk You Home" to the Ray Davies-like "Bumble Bee." (The title track even evokes Cloudland-era Pere Ubu.) Meanwhile, the lyrics consistently conjure images of childbirth and new life -- and as concept records go, give Features credit for restricting theirs to EP length.

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