Local Wire

The Stills

If you thought that The Stills were initially lumped into the same scene as Interpol and the Walkmen because of timing rather than musical similarities, the quintet cements that notion on Without Feathers. More Radiohead than Rapture, Feathers finds the Montreal band more interested in creating expansive soundscapes than in brooding in the corner. Maybe it has something to do with former drummer Dave Hamelin's switch to guitar, but much of the album feels strangely familiar, yet difficult to place. In fact, the melancholy "Interlude" aside, Feathers actually sounds, well, hopeful. "Halo in the Harpoon" soars like a discarded helium balloon, and the driving "Baby Blues" is filled with caustic quips such as "I'm into looks, but I'm also into books." Ultimately, that line neatly sums up what the album is all about. Sure, it sounds good, but there's real substance beneath the band's artsy exterior.
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Jonah Bayer