Feeling Left Out – Once Upon A Time (CD)

Acoustic emo is always hard to do properly, where bands like The Early November failed miserably at their attempts, bands like Boys Night Out and Yellowcard have made compelling cases for the possibility of these types of albums. Still, this isn’t the type of acoustic that something that unplugged has constructed in the vast majority of listeners’ minds; “Once Upon A Time” is an adulterated acoustic album, recorded as with a normal album, incorporating different track noises and multi-levels to try to stop the emptiness of the guitars from showing. Starting any CD out with a 6 minute plus track is a dangerous gambit to say the least, but the swirling track noise and multiple vocals previously noted really turn something that could be an immediate turn-off for the average listener into something that sets the stage for the rest of the disc. Providing a departure from the intro track with “Replaceable Parts”, a cleanly-recorded, much lighter in mood type of song, Feeling Left Out immediately goes for the radio sound in a Dashboard meets Hayden-mesh which is saved by innovative time signatures and intricate guitar lines.

Each following track on “Once Upon A Time” strays less and less from the innovative nature of “Goodnight” and finds itself closer towards the radio-friendly nature of “Replaceable Parts”. Now, radio-friendly does not mean Britney Spears-like, and Feeling Left Out is markedly different from the vast majority of famous emo acts currently on the scene is FLO’s basis more in the Bluegrass/Alt-Country side of things than the Beatles/Pop-side. Where the rest of “Once Upon A Time” may not be continually innovating itself, it still is innovative when compared to the rest of the music being pumped through all the Virgin Megastores. “Crowbar”, while having a set of vocals that border on the edge of melodramatic, is one of the most moving tracks on the CD due to these vocals and the wild variations of the guitars on the track.

Feeling Left Out is able to hold listeners through 7 full tracks that average over 4 minutes a piece, something that can’t just be explained away easily. They are technically proficient, as well as smart enough to realize what type of music is currently popular, and make an album that is just as satisfying to music dorks as it would be to doe-eyed 12 year olds. A track like “If Only To Hear You Say”, with outstanding instrumentation and lyrics like “It would take more than this city to tear us apart”, is the perfect indicator of this.

Top Track: If Only To Hear You Say

Rating: 7.3/10

Feeling Left Out – Once Upon A Time / 2004 LLR / 8 Tracks / http://www.feelingleftout.net / http://www.llrrecords.html / Reviewed 30 July 2004

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