Athens-based indie folk/rock collective Family And Friends have announced the release of their debut full-length album Felix Culpa on June 8th. Built on the idea that the sum is greater than the individual parts, Family And Friends has steadily gained a loyal following with their spirited live performances and “good music, good people” mantra since releasing their 2015 EP XOXO. The new album, produced by Brad Wood (Liz Phair, Smashing Pumpkins and Sunny Day Real Estate), widens their musical palette with an electrifying infusion of tribal rhythms, psychedelic and tropical elements, prog rock and melodic sounds. Felix Culpa finds Family And Friends at a pivotal moment in their maturation as artists and individuals.
Whereas Family And Friends’ first EP focused heavily on love, and the second on nostalgia, Felix Culpa is caught somewhere between adolescence and adulthood. With a classic coming-of-age narrative, the album’s theme focuses on a precipice of life’s journey, as we begin the quest for existential meaning and come to terms with the fact that people and relationships are more complicated than we realize. Balancing scintillating textures with bright guitars and beautiful vocal harmonies, Felix Culpa articulates the often frustrating and difficult time that many experience during their mid-20’s in a way that is universally relatable to people of all ages. As deep and philosophical as the subject matter may seem, Family And Friends’ sharply observant lyrics are cloaked in the band’s contagiously upbeat instrumentation, leaving the listener with a sense of hope by album’s end.
Family And Friends’ collaborative concept extends well beyond the members of the band. With a live show that begs audiences to feel as much a part of the experience as the musicians onstage, their fiery performances have been turning casual viewers into full-on believers all over the southeast. The band’s infectious, dynamic anthems become even more intoxicating in a live setting, with epic builds that crash over the roar of two drummers, who perform facing each other to feed off one another’s energy. A Family And Friends show is pure, unadulterated fun with a lightning bolt of enthusiasm and a familiarity that is immediately endearing and undeniably gratifying.
Family And Friends includes Mike MacDonald (guitar, vocals), David “Tuna” Fortuna (bass), Ryan Houchens (drums, vocals), Alejandro Rios (drums) and JP McKenzie (electric guitar). The album title, which loosely translates to “happy mistake,” illustrates the idea that while we may never find one ultimate reason for our existence, and even if it is all purely the result of chance, the fact that we are here deserves to be celebrated.