The Open Feel: The Open Feel EP

The Open Feel: The Open Feel EP
Los Angeles is always on the cutting edge of music. From The Doors in the 1960s to The Mars Volta is the aughts, there is always new and innovative music coming from LA. Female-fronted duo, The Open Feel hail from LA but are anything but cutting edge. The band’s sound appears to be a mish-mash of moody 90s alternative and 80s college rock. The band showcase their passe style on their self-titled debut EP.
The Open Feel’s story is an enthralling one. The duo, Katie Harris and Tom Brayton, have been romantically linked for the past 11 years. They are veteran studio hands in the LA recording scene and have recording music for TV shows and movies. But after building a studio in their basement, they began writing their own music as The Open Feel. Recording for much of 2009, the results are their debut EP.
The duo play all the instruments on the album including bass, guitar, and drums. Despite liking their story and understanding the rigors of recording your own album and playing all the instruments on the album, I do not find much to pull me toward The Open Feel EP.
The group seems evolutionally stunted around 1998. Take the EP’s second track, “Still Here” for example. The track features a strong bass line similar to The Cure with Mineral-esque guitar noodling over the top. The strong female vocals are somewhere between Gwen Stefani and Tori Amos. As if those retro elements were not enough, the group piles it on by applying studio tricks like echoing the vocals with little effects on them that were already out of style cool when Joydrop used them on “Beautiful” in 1999.
If these egregious violations were just done on one song I might let it slide, but the entire album seems stylistically produced for a bygone era. I recognize that if I was in my mid-30s and I listened to a lot of 90s rock radio stations, this album would probably be right up my ally but the fact is that music has largely evolved past this style and this album just seems stuck in the past.
Rating: 2.8/10
MP3: The Open Feel “Still Here”
Buy: iTunes