Street Theater
(Innocent 12th St., 2004)

Those of you who read my review of the Feathermerchants second CD, Unarmed Against the Dark, know that I quite enjoyed that CD. I mentioned a video on their website for the song "Dan" as well as discussing my favorite track, "Ursuline." Not surprisingly, I got quite excited when I had the opportunity to review their EP Street Theater. This CD contains a copy of the "Dan" video as well as several remixes of "Ursuline."

For those of you unfamiliar with the Feathermerchants, the band is Peter Veru (guitars, vocals), Shannon Kennedy (lead vocals), Jim Chapdelaine (lead guitar), Jay Wiggins (bass) and Jon Peckman (drums). The band's music could be described as folk-rock, although the song "Ursuline" has elements of Native American music and Goth (at least to my ears).

Sometimes, remixes can enhance a song and improve upon what you hear in the original. Alas, this is not the case with the "Dance remix" and the "Chaos remix," both by Nick Forte. My main question for Nick is, "What were you thinking?!!?" The "Dance remix" should be renamed the "Repetitive remix." Nick adds in an aggressive guitar riff, which I initially liked. After hearing it over and over for nearly seven minutes, I wanted the pull my hair out. The "Chaos remix" would be more honestly titled the "Uninspired Techno remix." If this version had been my first introduction to "Ursuline" it would have easily been my least favorite track on the CD. On the bright side, this musical torture lasts less than five minutes.

Since the original version of "Ursuline" is available on Armed Against the Dark and you can see the video for "Dan" at the band's website, is there a reason to purchase the EP at all? Well, there are three other tracks on the CD, but one of these tracks, "Farmers Night Out," is also on Unarmed Against the Dark while the other two are from the band's self-titled first CD. The difference is that the band had a different lead vocalist on that first CD. If you would like to hear Shannon Kennedy sing "Best Regards" and "Ludlow Street," then that is a reason to acquire Street Theater.

In short, I think the Feathermerchants is a good band. I was slightly depressed to see in the promo material that I had missed a show of theirs in Austin, Texas. I enjoy the band enough that I would have willingly made the trip from Dallas. As much as I like them, I have to say that unless you are an absolute die-hard that must have everything they release, you can avoid this EP and simply focus on their full-length CDs instead.

- Rambles
written by Wil Owen
published 25 September 2004

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