Terrible Feelings - Shadows (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Terrible Feelings

Shadows (2012)

Deranged Records

Being a band who portrays a "dark" image can be a tricky cat to skin. Go too dark and you tread into the realm of the absurd (picture full face make up and songs about the devil and murder). Too light and you run the risk of becoming a "first world problems" meme. Sometimes you can strike that delicate balance and you can pull together dark, angsty anthems that can be as fun to sing-along to as they are intense. This balance is held remarkably well on Terrible Feelings' debut full-length Shadows.

For those not familiar, Terrible Feelings are a quartet from Sweden (which may or may not add to their ability to be awesome, science is still in debate). The band specializes in hard driving, darkly thematic, power pop. They've been placed somewhere between bands like Wipers and Murder City Devils. Tracks are heavy in guitar flourishes and surf rock style drums and lyrical content such as, "No savior can mend my apathy / It has festered inside of me / Deprived me of courage and made me a minion of heresy," ("The Darkness of Man"). It's the kind of music you listen to multiple times and pick up something new and different each time.

The thing that is so surprising is just how perfectly balanced the record is in its flow and content. Several times a track will seem to go careening into the realm of cheesy or camp (such as the aforementioned "Darkness of Man," which starts off with a nearly Jefferson Airplane opening and singer Manuela Iwansson wailing "Oh, the darkness of man." It's almost enough to make you skip it). However, Terrible Feelings seem to show an innate knowledge of just the right time to pull back into an anathematic chorus or ripping guitar solo. Time and time again Terrible Feelings demonstrate excellent pacing, stretching each verse, chorus and bridge to just the right length to keep it exciting but not too long or redundant (as is the curse of so many bands with strong choruses to just rely on repeating them over and over again).

With Shadows, Terrible Feelings have made an album that is at once easily accessible and hard to define. It's bouncy and easy to sing along with, but dark and, at times, quite bleak. Call it "Doomsday pop with punk rock roots" (as Deranged Records does). Call it "black angst-ridden power pop," (as band member Anton Collinder has). At the end of the day the descriptions won't stick with you, but Manuela's haunting wails over the perfectly rolling melodies will.