The Features' perpetual status as the "next big thing " has most likely become a point of sarcastic comic relief for its members by now. The Nashville band released its first album in 1997, and its career since has cycled through manic highs (gaining critical acclaim and a respectful following in the UK and Europe, signing a major-label deal and touring with Kings of Leon) and depressing lows (making records for indie labels that were never released, being dropped from Universal after one album and not becoming as popular as Kings of Leon). But the band's latest self-released effort, last year's Some Kind of Salvation, shows that all of these trials have made the music stronger. "Lions" bounces along with energetic spirit and youthful panache on the strength of crunchy guitar stabs and falsetto whoops and hollers, while "GMF"'s melancholy mood, gritty, effects-laden Fender Rhodes line and dense harmony vocal lines give the album an exploratory and artful side that adds weight to the band's Southern-soul-tinged guitar-pop.
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