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ILLLS

Hideout From the Feeders

(Aloe; US: 12 Nov 2013; UK: 12 Nov 2013)

Mississippi’s ILLLS may be from the South, but they aren’t much for southern rock. Instead, the band trades in spacious moods and angular guitars that carve out darkness around frontman Steven Ross’s warbling vocals. The mix can be a heady, heavy one, as on the hard-edges and rippling tones of “Friends” or the jangling echoes of “Wales”. In these moments, the band wraps cooler rock tropes in an urgent heat, infusing it with immediacy. Other moments, though, like opener “Our Shadow” and the fuzzy “Colleen” feel buried in less subtle layers. These songs coat vocals in treated reverb, the guitars and bass fuzz are too big and too clean over the track, and the effect is less effective murk and more indistinct, even anonymous. ILLLS certainly has its own shadowy energy, but Ross and company struggle to bring it to life in a consistent way on Hideout From the Feeders. It ends up a record split between deft layering and overcooked, confusing texture. The good stuff is promising and distinct, but the band needs to shake off the stuff that doesn’t sound like them because, well, these other tunes could sound like anyone.

Rating:

Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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ILLLS -- "Wales"
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