The Stills Without Feathers

Indie rock keeps getting leaner and leaner. Back in the day, nerds still had guitar heroes and wanted to get laid — nowadays the "rock” in "indie rock” has degenerated into a complaisant, metrosexual lull. Tidiness takes precedent over grit, off-ness, and bite — basically, all the stuff that makes music interesting — and the Stills are a prime example of this kind of boner-killing banality. All the chemicals are here — guitar, drum, bass — but they don’t combust; it’s neat, inoffensive, and formulaic, like watching somebody with good diction read from a script. In the Stills’ favour, "Helicopters” has a nice chorus — the fact that I remember it at all sets it apart from every other track on the album. The band are honest, at the very least — they refuse to wax eccentric in order to disguise their dullness, and the singer doesn’t pretend to feel things he doesn’t feel (which is anything, it seems). Without Feathers may be stilted and blasé, but at least it’s not embarrassing; the Stills’ mistake is in believing that this is good enough. If the band let loose and ruffle their suits a little bit, there’s hope for them. If not, well, at least they aren’t hurting anybody. (Vice)