Felix Hagan & The Family - Attention Seeker (Debt Records)
Feli Hagan & The Family - Attention Seeker

Release Date: 24th November 2017

I have been looking forward to this album for a while and if you like the idea of the pit musicians from a Broadway musical writing and recording an alt-pop-indie album in their spare time then you’ll be glad it’s here too. To be clear, I’m not sure on the exact history of this London based collective but if at least one of them hasn’t been an understudy in the Wicked I’ll be very surprised. The album kicks in hard with title track and recent single ‘Attention Seeker’ which feels like the Strokes fronted by Mika in the best way possible and we’re off, hold on tight people. ‘The World’s Yours’ has a futuristic feeling to it as seen from the 1980s but blended with a Muse-esque synth throb and an internet friendly call to arms in the chorus.

On ‘Gene Kelly’ the band let their campness come screaming out channelling the likes of Elton John (‘Saturday Night’s Alright’ era) and early Maroon 5 to create the kind of track that will have suburban teen-queens dancing around their bedrooms, dreaming of the time they break out and be themselves. ‘Delirium Tremendous’ would have made a glorious band name but it’s still a fantastic, peacock prancing indie-pop track that wouldn’t be out of place on a Katie Perry album with it’s shimmying melodies and dirty little secrets that come creeping out in musical inspired chorus. That Muse influence is back on ‘Babe I Ain’t Comin’’ but this time it’s blended with the mischievous Scissor Sisters in the verse and Scouting for Girls in the chorus.

Felix Hagan & The Family, darlings
At the half-way point it’s safe to say that this is one of the great pop albums of 2017 and should set these guys up for another series of incendiary live shows in 2018 on the festival circuit. ‘Be A Freak’, for instance, not only works as a T-Shirt slogan, also fits as a mid-set dance inducing track with the singable line of “Dance like you don’t care at all”. The energy just doesn’t let up as the band whip in to ‘Hey I Want You’, a 50s rock’n’roll inspired tune with tinkling ivories all over the place and the kind of vibrancy that only Tankus the Henge have matched in my ears this year although if the Commitments were resurrected I’d pay good money to see that particular battle of the bands. ‘Woah There Kimmy’ edges back towards the dark pop core that keeps the band burning so brightly while ‘On The Double’ has a sophisticated little swing to it that makes you want to dress a la Cabaret and tip a hit to anyone who makes heavily mascara-ed eye contact.

Entering the home straight (I don’t want to go home yet), the band finally take a breather as ‘Burn Down This City’ starts with a mellow piano line and atmospheric percussion that the likes of Bastille or Sam Smith would happily wedge in to a new album – especially when you get to the Jean Valjean belter of a crescendo. ‘Fall Away’ is the most sparse and heart-bearing track on the album as the guitar strums in the corner to simply provide company for a morose and tortured vocal of Cohen-esque tinges. The album closes out on ‘Tough To Be A Dreamer’ which is a more confessional, reflective piece that completes what I now realise is a night out played out over an album. The anticipation, the excitement, the euphoria, the confusion, the disappointed when things come to an end – it’s all here. This last track is that night-bus journey home with your best friend/girl/boy snoozing on your shoulder as you see the people with real problems huddle in doorways sleeping on cardboard mattresses, dreaming of four walls and someone to fall asleep on. In the same way that we all need a good night out from time to time, we all need an album like this on our lives as well so if Secret Santa has got you stumped then get a copy of this beauty and make someone’s Christmas. 

More information: https://www.facebook.com/felixhaganmusic/

Live Dates:

20th November - The Joiners, Southampton
24th November - Octagon, Keighley
26th November - The Borderline, London
28th November - Band on the Wall, Manchester
1st December - The Zanzibar Club, Liverpool
3rd December - The Exchange, Bristol