The once-member of New York’s folk-rockers The Felice Brothers and spearheader of his own brainchild The Duke and The King, rhythm man Simone Felice has emerged from his own past musical collaborations. The effect: a solo album of gothic settings, overcast cryptic integrations of melancholy narratives and dusty honesty.
The mixed bag of Simone Felice is one that offers snippets of a hopeless love in “Stormy-Eyed Sarah,” where the lyrics reel, “Every song is for Sarah;” hushed circumstances of “Hey Bobby Ray” and a blundering ballad of death in “New York Times.” While the forlorn melodies reverberate through whispering choirs and plainly stated reverence, the tracks occasionally lack substance.
Yet others, like “Charade” and “Sharon Tate” emerge with gimmicky lyrics, and the effect of “Gimme All You Got” leaves you feeling the song hasn’t been completed yet. Simone Felice is not a meditation album but in fact, a quiet, humanistic account of the simple.
Relying heavily on organ, choir and warm strings, the album waivers, toeing the line between worship and wonder as well as the perfect and the imperfect. This self-titled album takes modern and scales it within gospel and Americana roots.