Feral Conservatives Bring Folky Garage Rock on ‘Here’s To Almost’ (ALBUM REVIEW)


feral33Nineties nostalgia seems to be at an all time high, which may be what draws listeners to the new record Here’s to Almost from the Virginia-based trio Feral Conservatives. But it’s the touch of sweetness they bring to their folky garage rock that will keep the attention. On the opening track “Round the Corner”, you may get Lisa Loeb vibes. But that’s just because lead singer Rashie Rosenfarb has the sugary voice of an angel. Feral Conservatives rock harder, like they’re trying to blow the doors off a garage that can’t contain them.

The contrast between Rosenfarb’s singing and the noise-rock style instrumental arrangements creates a kind of post-punk, pop rock sound that’s airy and buoyant, with a badass touch. An abundance of “ooohs” and aaahs” make for a handful of delicious sing-a-along confections like the put-you-in-your-place “Complacent” and “Bus Driver”. The band tricks you into thinking they’ve toned it down on “Bus Driver”, which opens with a soft, slow pace and quickly falls into step with the rest of the record, energetic and bubbly.

Standouts on Almost include the smooth Americana tune “Little Pieces” for some of Rosenfarb’s most thoughtfully employed vocals and the dream pop treat “Wait for Me”. The latter is a driving, elevated adventure song perfect for belting out in the car on a post-breakup trip of a lifetime.  The clear jingle of Rosenfarb’s mandolin on peppy track “Pacific Child” make Feral Conservatives feel like more of a folk pop band, and there is no question that Rosenfarb’s voice would make for a glorious companion to some fiddle and banjo. “Last Light”, too, showcases that springy mandolin alongside her crystalized voice. Matt Francis on rhythm and Dan Avant on bass round out the Ferals and contribute to that hard-to-place sound. The trio balances so many genres in each song; you can only imagine how fun it must be for them to make their music.

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