Audio Mixer: Jay Joyce.
Photographer: Myriam Santos.
Falling somewhere between the earnest, neo-southern rock of the Black Crowes, the bluesy swagger of the Black Keys, and the wide-open-road country-rock of the Eagles, Nashville-by-way-of-Austin's Wild Feathers apply the lessons of the past to the wounds of the present, offering up an expansive 12-track collection of hard luck stories, fist-pumping highway jams, and rural, midtempo porch stompers that suggest a steady diet of Petty, the Band, and Mellencamp tempered with a healthy respect for the Boss -- they prefer to be called an "American" band rather than an Americana one. Things begin on an upbeat note with the propulsive "Backwoods Company," a pistol-whipped, harp-fueled, gospel-tinged bar crawl of an opener that sets the stage for similarly kinetic late album gems like the blistering power pop anthem "I'm Alive," and the Crazy Horse-kissed "Hard Wind," the latter of which, oddly enough, also owes a tip of the trucker hat to "Ship of Fools"-era World Party. There's a real familiarity at play here, especially with all of the classic rock underpinnings, that makes it awfully difficult to refrain from just listing the artists that so obviously made an impact on the group, but their Bad Company-by-way-of Big Star (see what I mean?) aesthetic is so easy and engaging, especially on standout cuts like the wise and wistful first single "The Ceiling," the power pop-infused "American," and the soulful, hymn-like closer "Got It Wrong," that it ultimately feels more timeless than revisionist. ~ James Christopher Monger