Feathermerchants, Last Man on Earth (Innocent 12th Street Records, 2006)

Feathermerchants are an up and coming band in New York City's crowded indie rock scene. They have just put out their third full-length CD, Last Man on Earth. Most of the album consists of amped-up rockers, but the album's strongest track "Change My Night" is one of the exceptions. This song features soulful lead vocals from Shannon Kennedy above a great noirish, jazzy arrangement. The album's other gems are the title song, which tells a creepy story about falling in with a cult, and the waltzy "Hitchcock Blonde," which makes excellent use of a discordant toy piano. Most of the rest of the songs on the album, despite their volume, felt unimaginative and even a little restrained to me. The band gives every impression of being able to really cut loose, and often appears to be on the verge of doing that, but never quite delivers. Listening to Last Man on Earth is a lot like watching a pretty good movie that definitely has its moments, but leaves you thinking that it could have been great with a few minor changes. Feathermerchants are presently a decent band that need to develop and distinguish their sound a bit farther before they can fully realize their potential.

Overall Grade: B-

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