Like the group's recent live shows, the album melds its songs into one continuous idea, capturing first the full-blown euphoria of a bacchanal and later, its groggy, hung-over aftermath. "Feels" begins raucously, with the jubilant "Did You See the Words" and the chanted "Grass," which is anchored by a heartbeat percussion. And while that feral, driving beat permeates "Feels," the Collective is markedly less savage here than previously. The sprawling eight-minute "Banshee Beat" begins with a whisper but doesn't grow much beyond Avey Tare's murmured narrative.
That balance between boisterous, brash melodies and delicate, dreamy soundscapes is the album's most defining characteristic. Rather than creating a Jekyll-and-Hyde struggle, the disparate sounds manifest themselves as part of the Collective's natural ebb and flow, making "Feels" a cohesive album that delivers as much of an emotional journey as any of its individual, isolated tracks.
-- Catherine P. Lewis