US project FEEL NO OTHER is the name given the partnership of vocalist Claudia Gregory and composer and instrumentalist Brian Lea McKenzie. Following an initial EP in 2013 they made their debut with a self-titled album in 2014, released through US label Silber Records.
Throughout this fairly short album, consisting of 12 compositions clocking in at 34 minutes, a few key elements define this production by acting as a recurring element. The most dominant of these are the distinct vocals of Gregory, a vocalist with a fine control over an emotional and perhaps subtly sulky, emotionally laden voice, a vocalist that can add semi-operatic tendencies at her most intense but also appears to be just as much at ease in more gentle territories. And always with an emotionally laden tinge to her delivery. The second key element is the use of one or more instruments similar to banjo and mandolin (perhaps just a banjo?) that adds a rural, distinctly US sound on some occasions, a more generic Mediterranean on others, but especially when given leeway for lengthier escapades actually reminds me of Greek folk music more than anything else. There’s also a distinct likeness to the soundtracks of spaghetti westerns due to this instrument and how it is employed, and I’ll assume that this latter effect is what was targeted here.
Supplementing these key details we have acoustic guitars, emulated instruments of various kinds, and a notable array of different keyboard textures. The latter by way of careful underlying foundation drones and delicate effects just as much as with a dramatic, surging or otherwise dominant presence, often giving these compositions a distinct soundtrack character. That the drums has a tendency to be fairly dramatic as well adds a certain emphasis to this. When that is said, when trying to decompose the elements as I listen to the songs, many of them give me the impression that they really are singer/songwriter creations at heart, but ones that here have been developed and fleshed out into more sophisticated entities.
Atmospheric laden music with a strong soundtrack feel is the chosen turf for “Feel No Other” on their debut album, music dominated by characteristic and high quality female lead vocals and a plucked string instrument as the recurring feature, of the kind that should make fans of old spaghetti western movies the ones to be regarded as a key audience presumably and then especially those amongst them with a taste for dramatic dream-laden music that would appear to have a foundation in singer/songwriter material.
My rating: 78/100