In a time where everything can seem contrite, to hear something break the mould is one of the most refreshing experiences to the listener. One of the best ways of doing this is to blend two genres together. Sometimes, the two will fuse together seamlessly and harmoniously, while other times, it sounds forced and comes across as some kind of musical Frankenstein’s Monster. Thankfully, we’re dealing with the former here.
Attention Seeker is the debut album from the London seven-piece Felix Hagan & The Family, and is certainly different. The self-described “musical theatre rock and roll” are just that, with their live shows consisting of costumes and make up akin to that of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It’s clear from the music that the theatrics of the stage show inform the music.
The majority of the album plays out like a cheesy rock-opera straight from the West End, and while it’s not to everyone’s taste, Felix Hagan & The Family do it well. A lot of the tracks are big, anthemic numbers which will translate well to stage, notably ‘Gene Kelly’, with it’s massive chorus and upbeat rhythm, while ‘Attention Seeker’ opens the album in suitable euphoric style.
There’s no doubt that Felix Hagan & The Family are successful in their attempts at musical theatre, but the album particularly shines on the tracks where they’re trying something different. “Babe I Ain’t Coming” and “Fall Away” are particular highlights, dropping the rock opera shtick for pure indie rock, resulting in a sound comparable to that of Everything Everything. It would be nice to hear a whole album of this style to see what the band could come out with.
The album’s closer, “Tough to Be a Dreamer” flips the switch again and incorporates a folk sound, but still propped up by the sugar-sweet pop displayed on the preceding songs. The confidence with which the band change sound from track to track is impressive, and demonstrates an impressive versatility. That being said, ‘Delirium Tremendous’ is an attempt at pop/rock/rap which, amongst the other well executed tracks, is frankly terrible and worth skipping all together.
There’s a risk of the rock-opera gimmick becoming a little tedious after a while, however, which lends itself to the lack of replay value. Attention Seeker can be exhausting with all its glamour and sparkles being thrown at you, and, much like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, takes a lot of energy to absorb twice in a row.
Aside from this, there really isn’t much to fault on Attention Seeker, and though the music might be an acquired taste, it’s hard to dislike Felix Hagan & The Family. Their mission of infusing glitzy show tunes and rock music together is respectable. There’s nothing better than a band that spits on the generic and kicks out the dull, and Felix Hagan & The Family definitely do that. [6/10]
Attention Seeker is out now