Feelings – Self-Titled Album Review

One of the most appealing aspects of Portland dance band Guidance Counselor has always been frontman Ian Anderson’s ability to incorporate punk rock rawness into the frequently frou-frou genre, to create dance punk with an heaping dose of swagger. At times, Anderson comes off like a garage-dwelling, lo-fi James Murphy — open, believable, and simultaneously self-deprecating and confident.

Anderson’s new solo project, Feelings, manifests these tendencies in a a much more low-key and emotive way. Two drastically different musical styles can be found on his latest release: the dark and brooding, with deep goth-industrial synths, and the bright and bubbly, with infectious grooves. True benchmarks for songwriting growth can be found in tracks like “Go Home” and “Desperate Man,” two violent openers that mark out a potential sonicpath for Anderson to trailblaze. Meanwhile, the remainder of the release is satisfying in more traditional ways; they are simply just well-written dance songs.

With such musical diversity, what links together the entire release is the fact that Feelings lives up to its moniker. Every song reflects Anderson’s allowing his thoughts to roam free, with little to no concern for formality or saving face. In the burrowing “Desperate Man,” he squalls, “I’m a desperate man! I’m deaaaaaaaad!” while in “X,” he sweetly croons, “Hey girl, I wanna drive your car/ Cause I need you/ I love you…/ I love you like a lover when the hero dies.” Though the lyrics are not horribly complex, they depict love and desire at their highest and lowest points; they honor impulsive human reactions more cowardly beings would be terrified to share in so open a forum. But it is emotional honesty, coupled with solidly good songwriting, that ultimately makes Feelings compelling. Anderson wears both certainty and doubt on his sleeve openly, with unmistakable style.

1. Go Home
2. X
3. Deanna
4. A.25
5. Desperate Man
6. Tetsuo
7. Dream Baby Dream (Suicide Cover)

Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

Vee has two narrative short films. Searching Skies (2017) touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States; with it, they helped co-organize The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. Reckless Spirits (2022) is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature-length project.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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Written by Vee Hua 華婷婷
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