Simone Felice – Strangers
Dualtone Music Group
-out now
3.5 / 5

Make no mistake: we are very biased toward Simone Felice. If you caught us in 2009 with The Duke and the King’s Nothing Gold Can Stay, then you’d understand. Personally, we consider that album a classic. Already. So if we come off over-appreciative of Felice’s post-Duke output, well, there’s a good reason for it.

But let us say that his latest solo album, Strangers, gets there, but not much else. Alas.

There are fantastic songs. Notably, the anthemic “Our Lady of the Gun” and “Running Through My Head.” Felice is a master at two things: great, soul-wrenching choruses that make you sing them, and stringing together lyrics to unfold a story. Felice envelops his listener into a blissful depressive state, not quite catharsis, but sitting by the river Oblivion and being tempted to drink. When he’s good, he’s good. But compared to Nothing Gold, again, a classic in our eyes, Strangers is pretty good, just not as brilliant, as insightful and sharp-cutting lyrically. His temptation to Dylanesque meter (see opener, “Molly O!”) is where we feel he’s weakest, and sometimes he slips into slightly overwrought emotionalism (“Heartland”). We feel Felice is strongest in understatement, given his subject matter.

A good, but not excellent, solo album from the man who brought us “Makes Me Want to Lose Myself.” Pick it up if you’re a fan (like us!)

Listen to “Running Through My Head” on Soundcloud.

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