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Album Review

The Felice Brothers, 'Yonder is the Clock'

April 6, 2009
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Roots Rock
The Felice Brothers Yonder is the Clock
Team Love
ESSENTIAL "All When We Were Young"
The Felice Brothers play the Paradise Rock Club on Thursday.

The new Felice Brothers record has two great songs with the word "chicken" in the title - one of several oddball delights on an album that finds the Catskill Mountains group sounding ever more in command of an unruly tangle of folk, country, and rock. The band does not so much make this record as keep it from flying apart. The intoxicating sound is matched with incisive word play, with the Felices using quirky laments and dark, urban poetry to bridge hillbilly and hipster. Ian Felice doesn't belt out songs; he sneaks them through a back door in your cranium, and the sparse yet jaunty drumming of Simone Felice, wheezy accordion groove from James Felice, propulsive bass lines by Christmas Clapton, and fiddle and washboard playing by Greg Farley provide the tools to pry open that door. The album ignites the imagination with tales of deceit, deception, and death, but the Felice Brothers leaven the grifter vibes with empathy for the underdog. Sure, the guy in "Penn Station" is as good as dead, but the Felices send him off in foot-stomping glory. (Out tomorrow) SCOTT McLENNAN