The Features: The Beginning EP

But the thing I learned is that they weren’t so much trying to frustrate me as they were ahead of me, and I just needed to catch up. The Beginning, a five-song EP by Nashville’s the Features, has some absolutely great stuff on it. It also has some stuff that I found absolutely frustrating. It’s the same kind of frustration I’ve sometimes felt listening to XTC and certain songs penned by Andy Partridge. Because it’s so obvious, when listening to The Beginning, that the Features have closets full of hooks that approach pure heroine in addictive quality (as on “Stark White Stork Approaching” and “Two by Two”) that it’s nerve-wracking when they don’t just let you get your full, uninterrupted fix (as on “Walk You Home” and “Bumble Bee”), when they veer into time changes, raucous noise-making, and instrumental experimentation.

But the thing I learned about Andy Partridge and XTC is that they weren’t so much trying to frustrate me as they were ahead of me, and I just needed to catch up. And I have a feeling I’ll have a similar experience with the Features. They show incredible talent as musicians in their arrangements and playing, and they write intelligent songs. After listening to The Beginning a number of times, I was left with the feeling of wanting to hear much more from them. And isn’t that the whole point of an EP in the first place?

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