Tuesday, 5 January 2010
Felix - 'You Are the One I Pick'
On my first listen to You Are the One I Pick (YATOIP), I thought to myself something along the lines of… “this is a nice chilled out solo record. Similarities of ‘White Chalk’ era PJ Harvey, Alela Diane, or Regina Spektor here!”. And jumped to a conclusion that the record was by a female musician who went under the name of Felix. On further research, much to my surprise I learned that Felix are in fact a duo spawning from the guise and musicianship of Chris Summerlin and Lucinda Chua. So I was half right really. Just didn’t expect this Chris dude to be involved. Although on further exploration his contribution is of good measure to Chua’s, providing the guitar parts and percussion, even though the vocals are entirely female-led.
From opener ‘Death to Everyone But Us’ we sense that lyrically YATOIP draws on dry humour, whilst presenting us tales of fantasy, in ‘Ode to the Marlboro Man’. Chua’s wit is also represented on ‘I Wish I was a Pony’ and in ‘Back in Style’, the line that’s repeated throughout, “that gum you like is gonna come back in style” is a reference from Twin Peaks.
There are no particular standout tracks on YATOIP, largely because the whole record blends together quite smoothly. This I feel helps provide the record’s dark elements, largely portrayed in Chua’s cello/piano playing and haunting vocals. The album presents a cocktail of classical, drone and pop, which you’d fail to think would work on your average recording, but Felix manage to make this happen consistently during 34 minutes.
With the witty blissfulness of Chua’s vocals and lyrics juxtaposed with the dark and chilling musicality, one could arguably draw a small but bizarre comparison to The Smiths in the sense that 2 opposing themes come across in their song-writing. Albeit with Morrissey, Marr and co it was the complete opposite (dark and gloomy lyrics, joyful and upbeat music), but they both lull the listener in to a false sense of security. When hearing this record we are instantly being drawn to its darkness and intensity when actually YATOIP is lyrically rather funny.
All in all a solid debut release from the duo and commitments permitting, I would be surprised if the name Felix failed to appear on some of the more alternative music festival line-ups in 2010.
By Freddy Rothman