The Felice Brothers return to the recording studio after a three year sabbatical with ‘Undress’, and it just might be their best since the self-titled album of 2008. There’s a pronounced shift in the subject matter of the songs here. The short stories of life in the Catskill Mountains have been replaced by larger themes.

It isn’t hard to find worthwhile things to write about these days. The hard part is finding simple and direct ways to address them.

Ian Felice

They take little time in aiming their acerbic wit in the direction of the creators of the storms and chaos that permeates our lives. The title track suggests stripping away all the fraud and deceit surrounding nefarious characters and institutions, name-checking the US President, Vice President, and The Bank of America.

Under the mushroom cloud, the Pentagon undress. Lady Liberty, crimes against humanity, undress.

‘Undress’ – The Felice Brothers

‘Special Announcement’ is another hoot. Any song that rhymes mobsters and lobsters and yet still makes its point, anybody without money, and the balls to make ridiculous promises, with no notion of seeing them through to fruition, could be President.

Their trademark, rambunctious, ramshackle, good-time music barrels along at a pace. Perhaps pared down somewhat from the likes of past glories, ‘Plunder’ and ‘Annie’s Gun’, it still is nigh impossible to sit still and listen to their dissection of the state of America.

From the rollicking ‘Salvation Army Girl’ to the enigmatic ‘Nail It The First Time’, this is an album of political insights and quirky delights. Strange mix as that may be, it is a constant delight. A band famed for their exuberant live shows, it will be interesting to hear how the brothers bring these songs to the live stage. Hopefully, they will roll into town on their upcoming tour, and we will all get a chance to see.

‘Undress’ is released on 3rd May 2019 on Yep Roc Records.

The Felice Brothers play Belfast’s Limelight 2 on 22nd January 2020.