THE DEAL: Nearly two years in the making, Charlotte quartet releases latest album, first full-length CD, produced by Joe Kuhlmann.
THE GOOD: The New Familiars has gone through a few lineup changes in recent years, but the band has settled into a comfortable spot — one that shines through in each of the 11 tunes featured on the band's new disc. Fans will recognize most if not all of the songs here — ones regularly performed during shows, but showcased here in clean fashion giving more meaning to the lyrics and depth to the music. The band's Americana style has gotten an electric charge without distorting the quality a bit, only adding layers on top of acoustic instruments via electric guitar riffs at the right moments. Justin Fedor's vocals remain smooth and driven by emotion, complimenting the hints of rasp and soul from Josh Daniel. (The band is rounded out by Daniel Flynn on drums and Pat Maholland on bass.) From the old-school rock of opener "Icarus" to the anthemic "All In All," from the ramble on the road style of "New River" to the employment kiss-off of "925," the band has sewn together a finely crafted work capturing every facet of its talents. A great touch to have local artist John Hairston Jr. handle the album's art.
THE BAD: Nothing.
THE VERDICT: Worth the wait. The band displays growth from previous efforts while remaining true to its sound. There might be sporadic moments when the live energy is missing, but that's what concerts are for.