Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

The Felix Culpa -Commitment

January 1, 2005

Band: The Felix Culpa

Album: Commitment

Best element: Being able and willing to play a genre of music and play it well.

Genre: Post-Hardcore / Indie

Website: www.thefelixculpa.com

Label: Common Cloud (www.commoncloud.com)

Band E-mail: band@thefelixculpa.com

Sit back and imagine your ultimate hardcore/ emo/ indie band. Fill it in with your favorite members of your favorite bands. My band would have Geoff Rickley (Thursday, Vox) Francis Mark (From Autumn To Ashes, Drums/ Vox) Derek and Ryan (Poison the Well, Guitar) Nick Torres (Northstar, Guitar/ Piano/ Vox/ random sounds) and Tim Payne (Thursday, Bass). This, in my opinion, is the best band that today’s underground scene could produce. And yet, The Felix Culpa has all the elements of my “ultimate band” and then some. Their full-length debut Commitment has me excited that music may yet live. This album is an ingenious 60-minute piece of non-stop musical art.

The album starts out with “A Benediction”, which is an artsy piece reminiscent of Northstar’s Is This Thing Loaded?. “No. 5 with a Bullet” starts to spice things up with backing screams, but “Aphoristic Instruction” was the first track that really caught my attention. The song sounds like Thursday’s Waiting, which is another genius album. Waiting, released on Eyeball Records in 1999, was Thursday’s first EP released on a label- it also served to open the door for post-hardcore as we know it. I love Waiting and to hear a band playing music reminiscent of it is great.
“Aphoristic Instructions” also features bassist Tristan Hammond taking over lead vocals and does a killer job in the lead role.

“Numbers” is most likely the best track on the album. Adding a little more screaming than in past songs and a killer bass part in the verse, “Numbers” really gives you an idea of what this band is capable of. Bassist Hammond is once again showcased on vocals but this time in a screaming role- and once again he is amazing. Though it is not the most complex song on the album, “Numbers” brings a great harder feel to the album.

I could spend a week talking about the rest of the album, because it only gets better from “Numbers” on, but I won’t. I’m just going to say that these guys deserve attention from everyone. The Felix Culpa is currently on Common Cloud Records, a label that has been bringing some great music above ground, or at least to the level of underground that I hang out at. I really can’t wait to see where this band goes from here. They have the talent to land a deal on Victory or The Militia Group and the sound to get on Deep Elm or Equal Vision; my only concern for these guys is that they are too eclectic for most tastes. The album has a light floating indie track sandwiched in between two post-hardcore tracks. Hopefully this will be looked on as an asset, as I see it.

Hailing from Rockford, IL, The Felix Culpa has the ability to grow into the best underground band since Thursday. I really hope they do. As their press kit says “Rock music was intended to be an audible representation of the chaotic and intangible aspects of being human.” This album and band are this representation.

-Scott Landis (redbassist66@comcast.net)

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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