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The Felix Culpa - Commitment (Cover Artwork)

The Felix Culpa

The Felix Culpa: CommitmentCommitment (2004)
Common Cloud

Reviewer Rating: 2.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

The Felix Culpa's first full-length Commitment is a strange, irrational, misplaced record. Their atmospheric, Christian-founded sound is akin to dreamy Tooth & Nail artists like Emery or Further Seems Forever, but the band steps far out of the genre's normal boundaries as they implement odd guitar .
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The Felix Culpa's first full-length Commitment is a strange, irrational, misplaced record. Their atmospheric, Christian-founded sound is akin to dreamy Tooth & Nail artists like Emery or Further Seems Forever, but the band steps far out of the genre's normal boundaries as they implement odd guitar riffs and extended landscapes, with tracks running an average of five minutes apiece. The album is both pleasant and unsettling at the same time, as the beautifully deep vocals of the lead singer put you in a mellow trance, only to violently shake you by some angular chord progression or bipolar expression. If there was some sort of midpoint between dreams and nightmares, this would be the soundtrack. The band's style is tougher to pin down than it seems; although they have a small sample of screaming here and there (the mid-album, eight-minute "Numbers," for example), all it really does is make the abovementioned comparisons easier to bring up.

It's not that Commitment is awkward. The Felix Culpa are certainly a creative trio, and admirably throw a lot of little things into the album musically for a three piece. It's more or less that the simpler parts of the album just aren't thrilling enough to justfiy placement. No one's asking for permanent freakout sessions or a constant barrage of experimental journeys, but I just don't feel knock-down-drag-out floored while listening to these parts of the album, or the more complex roads taken for that matter. It's both amiable and misanthropic and just too disjointed to "work." I feel compelled to say something like "the band is overstepping their creative boundaries," but if that's the case, they'll be continents away by their next album, which doesn't seem a likely case.

The layout is probably the standout aspect of the whole thing. Packaged inside the spine of the CD case is a pencil, the obvious size of which is usually reserved for mini golf scoring. Opening the case, the band provides instructions on what to do with it - after disassembling the jewel case, the potential artist apparently will be inclined to create something on the blank canvas provided by the album cover (as conveniently shown to the right here on the screen of your home or office monitor). Oddly enough, whatever will be drawn, the feasibly improvised sketches'll likely be as fragmented and broken-felt as the music contained within.

Maybe I just don't "get" it, or maybe there's less to get than I'm imagining. Either way, The Felix Culpa's debut is far from sordid but equally distanced from greatness, as the band's hearts are in the right place...their heads just seem to overshoot the accomplishment.

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
thedarrien (July 2, 2006)

I enjoyed this album quite a bit. Good music, even better guys. I saw them at my first local show EVER [about two years ago, in some corner of DeKalb, with El Oso (love them), Best Days Behind, and Inspector Owl (love them as well)], I still go and see them quite a bit, and they're still a favorite. I love how versatile their music is, in terms of shows--one night, they can play a show with the indiest of the indie bands out there, and the next night they can open for the screamiest [is that a word? well, I suppose it is now], most hardcore band out there and fit in perfectly with both shows.

and yeah, you can never go wrong with a free pencil.

steveman (February 1, 2006)

"felix culpa - fortunate fall."
I thought it was fortunate fault?

Ok i'm just tired and quibbling over unimporant things in old reviews. I'll go to bed or write a new review or something.

Anonymous (September 30, 2005)

the culpa by "overstepping their creative boundaries", whatever that means, has created a work that is invoking and infuses it with a smidgen of poetic influence. in this somewhat correct and standard society, music has taken no small leaps and has contented itself with boundaries. so, maybe indeed you don't "get" it.

a small note about the name "felix culpa." it's an idea whose origins are in 354-430 AD. Saint Augustine of Hippo set forth his explanation of the fall, hence the "felix culpa - fortunate fall." In short, it was a manifestation of the idea that man is fortunate to have had a savior come to take away their sin, in two words. Before the fall man was a creation, distanced from God yet wholly perfect. After redemption by the cross, man is called God's "children" and referenced to as His "bride." This new intimacy is what Augustine, and later Milton, was trying to express. Because of the fall, man is able to have a closer relationship with God, through Christ.

Neither Milton nor Augustine meant "Felix Culpa" to mean 'fortunate sin,' in a literal sense that sin was good. The band itself may get a different vibe from it, but there is it's historical meaning.

cheers,
-- feliks (of no relation to the band.)

Anonymous (March 26, 2005)

I can't tell you how impressed I am watching this band evolve - listening to the recordings they have done and hearing them play from time to time. A regional band of really young guys forge for themselves a genuine and sometimes genius musical niche - and most of the time they are compared to national industry driven efforts by far more credible sources than this clod - they have elevated themselves and their art to a level few ever attain to... the industry would do all of us a favor and smile down on this honest and powerful musical expression - invest some serious money into their future and give them to the world instead of the crap that they are currently shoveling in our direction - just my humble opinion - one more thing - I am so tired of self important - pseudo - intellectual music critics - aren’t you?
The album is a materpiece - long live TFC

Anonymous (February 16, 2005)

crap, that read very badly for them ........sorry guys you are all intellegent and lovely ....... i'll never be able to save this. the felixculpa's music brings life to a dead and dying scene, and they are genuine and not in it for themsevles at all. they do it because they love others , and this is one of the best ways they can share their love without making anyone feel left out. real great guys and real big hearts and real big beautiful music.

and i thought the review was honest and pretty dead- on without knowing the culpa personally. please disregaurd the previous nonsence, you see this is why i don't write anyone letters.

Anonymous (February 15, 2005)

i probably wouldn't listen to committment if the world was comming to a horrible end soon. ( so i guess we know what won't be in my cd player presently) and as far as the band name goes , there was absolutely nothing fortunate about the fall of man....God was JESUS and JESUS was God long before Adam ever handed his dominion over to Satan. it was God's Love for us that pinned Him to a tree . no other reason. ive known all the guys in the culpa for a long while and it's very disapointing to see them settle on a name the contradicts Truth. we truly are destroyed for lack of knowledge..
however there is absolutely no compromise when it comes to playing straight from the heart. i love them boys. know matter what , and the music is far reaching beyond words and off set time signatures. i love em i just don't listen to thecd much....... i the review was honest and dead on.

Anonymous (January 31, 2005)

This cd kicks ass. When i first heard Bad Actors (unmixed) it became my favorite song instantly. As I heard more songs by them I realized that I liked everyone they have. If you have any taste in good music go buy it now...its well worth the 10 bucks, ---
- tFC fan

betteroffthandead (January 13, 2005)

I personally think that this album is amazing. I've known and loved these guys since way before the name change. I was surprised to see a bad review, but, I guess your opinion is yours to have, whatever, this album rocks!

Anonymous (December 28, 2004)

never heard of these chaps. read this review, then read the anti-review comments. and unlike most of the anti-review comments, they made sense. did some research and found out about a kick ass band. can't wait to get this record.

WNB
-jd

Anonymous (December 28, 2004)

My bad check the website if anything but I guess its cheaper at $6 and @ 7:30

Anonymous (December 28, 2004)

I loved this album!!! The music really sounds like its straight from the heart. The lyrics are unfathomable. They are seriously far beyond talented. This is their "first" full length album. They definately will get great and bad reviews from time to time, everyone is entitled to their own opinions so don't wish any bad harm to people who didn't like this album. You must have an open horizon to enjoy and understand but remember the only people who can really understand this are the band members because people can have different perspectives of what this album means unless you get it straight from the source. They can't be categorized into a genre because they are their own unique genre. Their names are etched into this new genre. After a few years and more great albums from these guys people will look back at this album and be like wow they have progressed so much from where they were but yet they still kept true to their roots. Take these great bands into consideration AFI, My Chemical Romance, Slipknot , Avenged Sevenfold for some examples their first albums weren't really accepted by the peers of the people but their further so albums have molded them into the great bands that they are now. i feel this will hold true to The Felix Culpa. Remember their names because in the future they will be headlining tours, on front of mags, and the cream of the crop. Don't decide to give them a bogus review now and jump on the band wagon later. Sorry I had a lot to say, but lastly I would like to thank Tristan for stopping by and opening my horizons to the Felix Culpa.

P.S. They are playing Minglewood(W.Jefferson, Rockford, IL) on 12-31-04 Friday New Year's Eve @ 8pm so don't miss out on a fucking great band, cover is about $ 7-8 bucks so go support your local heroes!!! TFC!

Bing @ Thai Hut w00t!!!

Anchors (December 24, 2004)

I like these guys.

Anonymous (December 24, 2004)

Don't defend your ART!!! What are you thinking! Don't explain. But, it is unfair to throw the christian label on a band just to demonize them.

trebleclefhero@aol.com

Anonymous (December 24, 2004)

Jesus was a bleeding-heart liberal bordering on commie-pacifism. Just thought I'd remind you all, this being so close to christmess (which is actually the festival of saturn - "saturnalia").

Anonymous (December 24, 2004)

hey guys,
forgive me if this is a bit long winded, but i thought i should put in my two cents.
the name The Felix Culpa is a term that originated in Catholicism, and literally translates to "fortunate fault". it refers to the fall of Adam (when Adam first sinned against God) and the term is probably best explored by John Milton in Paradise Lost. Milton explains that since Adam was created in God's image, without sin, then he would have been without hate, sorrow or any other range of negative emotion. therefore, before the fall we could not experience basic intellectual and emotional stimulation caused by the range of contrast in emotion which sin provided. We appreciate the opportunities of life after the fall because the sin of Adam provided the other side. It also showed man that we can learn from and understand the ability to choose, and its consequences. at least that's what i got out of it.
i hope that was more informative than preachy, as i understand how some people shy away from anything with a "christian" tint to it. and yes, i am a christian, and yes, i am a musician... but why should it matter? the two have little to do with each other when they get down to the end result of the music. after all, no one cares that Mike D is a buddhist when they listen to the Beastie Boys or that John Travolta is a Scientologist when they watch Pulp Fiction or that the guy who fixes your plumbing may worship Satan if he gets the job done. i am a christian, some of the guys in my band aren't. that doesn't mean our songs will convert you. at the end of the day, it's just rock music.
-marky / the Felix Culpa

kenjamin (December 23, 2004)

just because something is from the bible doesn't make it stupd or not stupid. In this case i'd say it doesn'.

Anonymous (December 23, 2004)

whoops, didnt give the right rating. =D

Anonymous (December 23, 2004)

This album kicks ass, undoubtably.

PS - Fuck you to the guy who said "fuck stupid band names" - "the felix culpa" means/has something to do with "the fall of Adam" from the bible, and as the fucking REVIEW SAID, they are CHRISTIAN. Retard. - DOM

ThriveToFailure (December 23, 2004)

Score is for pencils, especially free ones.

Anonymous (December 23, 2004)

fuck stupid band names.

lou (December 22, 2004)

for some reason i'm not logged in, that comment below is me.

Anonymous (December 22, 2004)

a free pencil... count me in.

this is one of those bands i've heard of, but never heard. i'm intrigued now. sounds like some good stuff.

Anonymous (December 22, 2004)

this band is really good. you don't "get it".

inagreendase (December 22, 2004)

I never said I was writing the second review. Also, I gave this album about seven careful listens, and these were my thoughts after listening. I'm not going to spend months losing sleep over a CD I just don't apparently "get" so I can positively hail something I'm not sure is even deserving of.

Anonymous (December 22, 2004)

"for one thing, "numbers" clocks in at about 4:50"

well, the album version ends around 4:50, but then there's a bunch of atmospheric sounds adn guitar playing. so he's right sort of. and the album version of numbers is weird compared to the older one. a good weird tho. listen to the album again.

Anonymous (December 22, 2004)

i would venture to say that the reviewer did not give this album a very careful listen. for one thing, "numbers" clocks in at about 4:50 and while he may have been speaking of "i'm still learning," that song clocks in at around ten minutes and is at the end of the album... personally, i find the term "misanthropic" a bit strong to really accurately describe the mood the culpa sets... cynical? maybe. dark? at times, definitely. mostly i find the album presents the listener with a lot of questions, some obvious and others more rhetorical.

as for "over-stepping their creative boundaries..." what does that mean, really? what progressive band doesn't? that phrase sounds more to me like a cop-out from a reviewer who didn't bother to take very good notes and most likely completed the review while thumbing through the latest victoria's secret catalogue.

although i am a long-time culpa fan, mostly i am disappointed with the quality of this review, rather than the fact that it was unfavorable. i'll be looking forward to the second review, although i imagine that one will be a bit difficult seeing as apparently brian has sold his promo copy on ebay.

inagreendase (December 22, 2004)

well, maybe you can use the $7.50 you made from selling the free promotional item and go see them when they play your town.

I'm afraid the U.S. Postal Service already claims ownership to this $7.50 you speak of. How do you think the rest of the staff gets their bundles of CDs?

Also, I'd planned from the get-go to run a second review of this. It'll be up sooner or later.

Anonymous (December 22, 2004)

Also, I meant to give it this score. I suppose I'm the cock mildew now.

Anonymous (December 22, 2004)

This album kicks so much ass it's not even funny.

Anonymous (December 22, 2004)

Same old bullshit. Heard it before...way better than this cock mildew.

Anonymous (December 22, 2004)

I help out at the old folks homes. I strip tease for all the old grandpas these. If I'm good they let me touch their old war pistols.

-Chinatown

Anonymous (December 22, 2004)

Interesting review. Maybe you should give it another listen down the road...oh no wait..that might be tough because you already sold the cd on eBay...well, maybe you can use the $7.50 you made from selling the free promotional item and go see them when they play your town.

Anonymous (December 21, 2004)

this album is SOLID

Anonymous (December 21, 2004)

Wow. For being such a fucking idiot, this guy sure uses a lot of big words.

Score is for the album.

Anonymous (December 21, 2004)

Opening the case, the band provides instructions on what to do with it -

The band opens the case for you? Cool, I need to get this!

-Chinatown

steveman (December 21, 2004)

Wow, I never thought I would see a mediocre review of anything Felix Culpa has ever put out. They are one of those local bands that you never quit think of as local. I've loved them since I first heard them, and I think they have a long road ahead of them. The new cd is amazing, I'm so glad we FINALY got it.

Anonymous (December 21, 2004)

An Angle beat The Felix Culpa.

This makes me miss Scott.

Anonymous (December 21, 2004)

Rockford!

(kind of)

Anonymous (December 21, 2004)

woah.. our first bad review. i'm sure it won't be the last. brian, i appreciate your honesty.
-mark / the felix culpa

Anonymous (December 21, 2004)

I've had this album in my possession since these guys released it with Engine Down sometime in September.
All I have to say is:
Brian... what drugs were you on when you listened to this album?
I mean, since the day I bought this thing it pretty much gets played in my car/home at least once a day. The strange balance between light and dark on this album... I don't know... just seems to fit.
I agree with Scott in that it took me a listen or two, but this album really paints a landscape for me when I listen to it.
I reccomend this to anyone with good taste in music.
If the Culpa guys are reading this, keep up the good work.
-Derek

maverick (December 21, 2004)

This album blows my mind. It took me a few weeks of constant play in my car, but now it clicks with me like very few other albums have this year.

"The End Of Inspiration" is a fucking phenomenal song, too.

-Scott

Anonymous (December 21, 2004)

the mea culpa kick ass

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