Felix Hatfield – Boundaries

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Marc Higgins | Stars: 4/5

Felix Hatfield’s biog describes him in terms of a Renaissance Man, but one imagined by Black adders Baldrick and Brecht. Real or imagined the idea of him sculpting with discarded objects, painting with concocted tinctures between strumming the guitar, creating for himself foremost and everyone else secondarily, is a compellingly romantic one. Bohemian, musician and artist existing outside of formal rules is a heady CV. Hatfield’s voice is like a favourite leather jacket, it’s a little worn with character and patina, it’s lived a life and wraps comfortably around you. The title track is a melancholic folk blues with Felix accompanying himself on an acoustic guitar. Like a field recording the voice is back in the mix, delivering a country love song. “I Love You Blues” adds a train song harmonica to the strummed blues guitar. Felix, sounding frail and life worn delivers a superb self deprecating. This is no by numbers ‘baby’ mass produced blues, this is real life, packed full of emotion and humanity. “The Day I Cried In Your Car” is like a Hank Williams song delivered by Gothic Folk surrealists The Handsome Family. The closely miked guitar is well recorded and Hatfield’s lyric describes life with a dryly melancholic eye. “Roll On” is another beautifully bleak derelict postcard. Some of the imagery and rhymes are like Country Syd Barrett, but like the madcap there is a charm and innocent grace in Felix’s ode to keeping moving. “Take Care Of That Ass Darlin’.” For anyone who thinks only beautiful people with perfect lives populate songs, offering us saccharin voyeuristic fantasies. This is a song written about real people and real life by someone sitting half dressed on an unmade bed squinting at the day through a headache. Again the imagery is real life personal, rendered with affection. “Lion” is as stripped back and resonating as anything on the Rick Rubin Johnny Cash albums. Felix’s voice breathes the strangely erotic words with a crackle over a buzzing guitar. “Sex Addiction” mixes the ordinary and the strange, finding a Country song melancholia in dealing with an over active partner. Unique, strange to the last moment, part Townes Van Zandt, part Jake Thackray, Felix Hatfield let’s loose with a personal voice in musical field of acoustic performers singing ordinary songs about ordinary people.