Fauna Flora “Fauna Flora”
Fauna Flora is the new project of Steve Ward, formerly of Cherry Twister. Along with bassist Joe Pisapia, keyboardist Matt Thomas, and drummer Paul Murr, they formed the new band, and its a rich and vibrant gem. Recorded and produced at Ward’s barn studio in Marietta, Pennsylvania, it starts off quietly enough and then dives into the gorgeous “Happy Hour,” if Coldplay knew what it was doing it would sound this good. Ward has moved towards a grander chamber pop (so fans of Eric Matthews, please get this one).
The orchestral swoon of “The Arms of Winter” then gives way to the gentle “Belle Of Blue Road,” a roots-influenced ballad. “As The Story Goes” is a ghostly gem, echoing 10cc or Alan Parsons Project in spots, with Ward’s whispering vocals. Unlike Cherry Twister, the guitars aren’t the main focus, and the composition and songwriting are more important. In fact the entire album is a study in the simple and complex, from the bouncy “Sunday, AM” to the richly melodic “Head of Fern.” Its great to see this creative band spread its wings. Not a dud here and one of the best albums you’ll hear this year.
The Feels “Dead Skin”
New York based “The Feels” is a sweet pop revelation, sounding current with smart melodies, and a shredding guitar riff. It follows the tradition of The Click Five and Weezer. “Dumb or 21?” is a great intro that touches all the bases here. “Purple Heart” is a pensive melody, you expect a big chorus but it goes small instead, on “Maybe” it has a fast-paced guitar buzz closer to Green Day.
What makes this band above the average is lead singer Christian Stefos Migliorese formerly of Candy Hearts. He just has the chops to lead a melody hard or soft. “When Things Were Good” is a perfect stoner love song, with a simple strum and Christian’s impressive pipes. The poppier aspects of this short 8-track album remind me of Wyatt Funderburk or The Sonic Executive Sessions, each song is well composed, usually about love and leaving love. “She’s Gone Away” is another highlight among many, with some beautiful 3 part harmonies. Highly Recommended.